We were ever so close to seeing an SEC team take the field on the grey turf of Rynearson Stadium in Ypsilanti but alas, it’s not meant to be.
According to Catspause.com, Kentucky has ponied up $800,000 to change their contract with Eastern Michigan and the two schools will instead get together in Lexington for a scheduled 2019 meeting.
“Previously we were going to be paying (UK) money to come up here and in turn it’ll be a payday for us,” Eastern Michigan associate AD for athletic media relations Greg Steiner told the site. “Certainly if you look at it from a financial point of view, we could not have made the $800,000 in 2019 off of a home game here at our stadium. It made financial sense and a good opportunity for us knowing our team competed exceptionally well last season in Lexington.”
“We are thrilled to be hosting an eighth home game next season,” Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart added in a statement. “Eastern Michigan approached us about moving our football game with them next season and we were happy to accommodate. It’s win-win for both parties, with us getting to play at Kroger Field and Eastern Michigan securing funds that will be helpful to their department.”
The move alters what was originally a two-for-one home game series between the Eagles and Wildcats. UK won the first meeting in Lexington last season and now will see EMU twice more in 2019 and 2020. Some additional compensation for the visitors was added for the 2020 contest as well according to the report.
The changes also give Kentucky the benefit of having a whopping eight home games for the 2019 season and only leave the state four times in 2020. In fact, the next time the Wildcats will play a non-conference game outside the commonwealth will be all the way out in 2023 when they are set to play at Akron.
Something says the Zips might want to get on the horn and check in about following the lead of their MAC brethren because Kentucky apparently isn’t a stranger to helping out the bottom line for others by moving games to a more favorable venue.