Non-Conference Game Payouts: Ohio State To Pay $3.2 Million To Oregon State and Tulane, Receive $5 Million For TCU Game In 2018

By Dan Hope on July 31, 2018 at 8:35 am
Ohio Stadium prior to last season's game against UNLV
Joe Maiorana – USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State is paying more to its home non-conference game opponents in 2018 than it has in previous seasons, but the Buckeyes are also set to receive a big paycheck for its non-conference game on the road.

According to game contracts obtained by Eleven Warriors, Ohio State will pay $1.7 million to Oregon State for its season-opening game at Ohio Stadium on Sept. 1, and will pay a total of $1.5 million to Tulane for the Green Wave’s trip to the Shoe on Sept. 22.

Ohio State will receive $5 million, however, for its trip to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas to play TCU on Sept. 15. The payment for that game, which spawned from the cancellation of a previously planned home-and-home series between the Buckeyes and Horned Frogs, will be made to Ohio State by Cowboys Stadium LP.

Eleven Warriors obtained the contracts for all of Ohio State’s upcoming non-conference games, as well as each of the Buckeyes’ non-conference games dating back to 2015, through a public records request under the Freedom of Information Act.

According to those contracts, Ohio State is set to pay $1.4 million to Florida Atlantic, $375,000 to Cincinnati and $1.3 million to Miami (Ohio) for its three home non-conference games in 2019. The game against Cincinnati was originally scheduled to be played in 2012, but was later rescheduled to 2018, and again rescheduled to 2019 (the Buckeyes also hosted the Bearcats in 2014 as part of the original agreement between the two schools).

Ohio State is set to pay $1.2 million to Bowling Green and $1.8 million to Buffalo in 2020, and will pay $1.8 million to Akron and $1.1 million to Tulsa in 2021. Ohio State will also pay $1.8 million to Toledo in 2022. The Buckeyes will also pay another school to play a non-conference game at Ohio Stadium in 2022, but that opponent has not yet been determined.

The rest of Ohio State’s currently scheduled non-conference games are home-and-home series, which means the two schools will either make equivalent payments to each other in the years in which each school hosts its home game, or no payouts will be made. Washington will pay Ohio State $500,000 to come to Husky Stadium in 2024, with Ohio State obligated to reciprocate when the Huskies come to Ohio Stadium in 2025; similarly, Texas will pay Ohio State $500,000 to travel to Austin in 2015, while the Buckeyes will pay the same sum for the Longhorns’ trip to the Shoe in 2026.

Ohio State’s payouts to Oregon State and Tulane this year are, by comparison, higher than the payouts the Buckeyes have made to each of their one-off non-conference opponents over the past three years.

In 2015 (the final year before the Big Ten moved to a nine-game conference schedule), Ohio State paid $1.2 million to Hawaii, $900,000 to Northern Illinois and $1 million to Western Michigan. Ohio State paid $975,000 to Bowling Green and $1.03 million to Tulsa in 2016. And in 2017, Ohio State paid $1.45 million to Army and $1.3 million to UNLV to make the trip to Columbus.

All of Ohio State’s payouts to non-conference opponents for games at Ohio Stadium from 2015 through 2022, not including games that were part of home-and-home series, can be seen in the table below.

Ohio State's Payouts To Non-Conference Opponents
Date Opponent Total Payout
Sept. 12, 2015 Hawaii $1,200,000
Sept. 19, 2015 Northern Illinois $900,000
Sept. 26, 2015 Western Michigan $1,000,000
Sept. 3, 2016 Bowling Green $975,000
Sept. 10, 2016 Tulsa $1,030,000
Sept. 16, 2017 Army $1,450,000
Sept. 23, 2017 UNLV $1,300,000
Sept. 1, 2018 Oregon State $1,700,000
Sept. 22, 2018 Tulane $1,500,000
Aug. 31, 2019 Florida Atlantic $1,400,000
Sept. 7, 2019 Cincinnati $375,000
Sept. 21, 2019 Miami (Ohio) $1,300,000
Sept. 5, 2020 Bowling Green $1,200,000
Sept. 19, 2020 Buffalo $1,800,000
Sept. 18, 2021 Tulsa $1,100,000
Sept. 25, 2021 Akron $1,800,000
Sept. 17, 2022 Toledo $1,800,000

Ohio State paid Virginia Tech $350,000 to come to Ohio Stadium in 2014, while Virginia Tech paid the same sum for Ohio State’s trip to Blacksburg in 2015; Oklahoma paid Ohio State $400,000 for its trip to Norman in 2016, while Ohio State paid Oklahoma the same amount for its trip to Columbus in 2017.

The contracts between Ohio State and each opponent also stipulate who will officiate each game and how many tickets are allotted to the visiting team, among other items.

The Buckeyes’ game against Oregon State this season will be officiated by a crew from either the SEC or Big 12, with their expenses paid by Ohio State, and 2,500 tickets were made available to Oregon State. The Buckeyes’ game against Tulane will be officiated by a Big Ten crew, and 2,000 tickets were allotted to Tulane. Ohio State was set to receive at least 5,000 tickets to re-sell to its fans, plus 500 tickets at no charge, for the game against TCU, which will be officiated by a crew from a neutral Power Five conference designated by the Big 12's supervisor of officials.

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