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Penn State Reportedly Paid Idaho $1.45 Million For Week 1 Beatdown

Penn State football’s record might read “1-0” thanks to a 79-7 beatdown of Idaho, but the game will come at a cost of $1.45 million, according to USA Today.

The two universities signed their contract for this football match-up in 2015 — less than a year before Idaho announced its plans to change its classification from FBS to FCS. They didn’t include a clause in the contract that would allow a team to back out of the deal if the other dropped down to the FCS. However, Penn State chose to play the game and honor the contract in full, despite Idaho’s move.

Idaho isn’t the first opponent of Penn State’s to receive a big paycheck. The Nittany Lions’ 2018 contest against Appalachian State nearly turned into one of college football’s worst investments after the Athletics reportedly paid the Mountaineers $1.2 million for their trip to Happy Valley. James Franklin’s squad needed some Trace McSorley magic and an Amani Oruwariye interception in overtime to win 45-38.

In 2017, Penn State reportedly paid Georgia State $1.2 million to come to Beaver Stadium for a game that ended in a 56-0 Nittany Lion victory. USA Today also reported that the Athletics paid Akron $1 million for a week 1 match-up in 2017, which the Nittany Lions won 52-0.

Other major Division I programs have made far worse investments than Penn State. Tennessee reportedly paid Georgia State $950,000 to lose 38-30 this weekend in a game that wasn’t as close as the final scoreline suggests during week 1 of the 2019 season. Additionally, Appalachian State got a $400,000 payday to pull off perhaps the most famous upset in college football history over Michigan in 2007. That total would be worth approximately $500,000 today if you adjust it for inflation.

Meanwhile, this isn’t the first time Idaho has collected a seven-figure paycheck to get walloped by a big-time football program. The Vandals received $1.2 million for their game against Florida last year, which they lost 63-10. Additionally, Idaho will get a total of $2.5 million from Indiana, thanks to a two-game series with the Hoosiers in 2021 and 2022.

LSU and Idaho did schedule a game to be played in 2020, but the contract included an opt-out clause if either team wasn’t an FBS side 24 months prior to kickoff. By exercising that clause, LSU saved $1.4 million.

Idaho was completely overmatched throughout Saturday’s game — particularly on the offensive side of the ball — and probably didn’t even belong on the same field as Penn State. There is value in a young, raw team going through a game-day routine and playing in front of a crowd of 104,000-plus fans, but given the risk of injury, whether that equates to $1.45 million is definitely up for debate.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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