Before Auburn’s season has kicked off, it has already beaten its biggest rivals — in paying to play other schools.
Auburn is doling out the two largest individual payouts for out-of-conference games in the entire country, according to a report from USA Today.
In the home opener Sept. 7, Auburn will pay Tulane $1.9 million. Auburn and Tulane played for the first time in 1902, and Tulane leads the series 17-14-6. The last time the two played was in a 38-13 Auburn victory on Oct. 21, 2006.
Auburn will also pay $1.9 million for the game the following week against Kent State. The matchup on Sept. 14 will be the first time the two will have played. This week, Kent State will also receive $1.5 million to travel to Arizona State.
Although Auburn edged out other national powers in out-of-conference payouts, high payouts for early non-conference games are not abnormal. Georgia will pay $1.8 million to welcome Arkansas State into Athens, and Alabama will pay New Mexico State $1.7 million in its home opener.
Auburn will also pay Samford $450,000 for the game sandwiched in between Georgia and Alabama.
Last year, Auburn payed UMass $1.9 million for the pre-Iron Bowl matchup. The largest non-conference payout came when Nebraska paid $2.1 million to Southern Miss in 2013.
However, Auburn will rake in $3.5 million from television revenue for its season opener this weekend in a neutral-site trip to Dallas against Oregon.
These costs come off the University paying former President Steven Leath $4.5 million when he abruptly submitted his resignation in June. With one payment already made, the University will pay Leath three one-time payments of $1.5 million over the course of three years.
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