The Gamecocks added another SEC school to its future football schedules when athletics director Oval Jaynes confirmed Wednesday they would play LSU in Baton Rouge in 2015. The game will be Sept. 5.
After this year’s season opener at Ole Miss, the Gamecocks will play Kentucky, Florida, Auburn and Michigan State of the expanded Big Ten over the next five years.
During Jack Crowe’s tenure as coach, the Gamecocks also have played Mississippi State and — beyond the SEC — Georgia Tech, Florida State and Kansas. After 2015, all that’s left to complete the SEC are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt, and Jaynes said they have talked to most of those.
Jaynes did not disclose the guarantee JSU will receive for the game, but said it was “a nice contract, comparable” to what the Gamecocks were getting from their other SEC matchups.
The Star has previously reported the Gamecocks would be getting $500,000 for the games with Florida and Auburn and a bit less for Kentucky. The take is $600,000 for the Michigan State game.
Elsewhere in the Ohio Valley Conference, Tennessee Tech will be getting $1 million to open its 2010 season at Arkansas and TCU.
While the financial windfall is nice, especially with a $60-million stadium expansion to cover, Jaynes said that isn’t the only factor JSU considers when trying to land a BCS opponent.
“I think you’d like to find somebody who you think the fans would enjoy, that it would make a nice trip for them,” he said. “I think our fans will enjoy going to Baton Rouge. Kentucky. Atlanta. They’ll enjoy Ole Miss, certainly Auburn. ...
“Secondly, is it a good game for your team and recruiting? We’re starting to recruit a little more in Florida; that’s a big game for us. Games you play like that when you play up, no question (there are benefits), but I’m not sure you list them 1-2-3. One’s not more important than the other. The financial arrangements are very important to us, but you want it to be a win-win.”
The search for big-money games never stops. The Gamecocks are looking at 2016 and 2017, and there have been discussions for a game at West Virginia in 2016. Meanwhile, they are looking for secondary guarnatee games in 2013 and ’14, when the schedule allows them to play 12, primarily geared toward Conference USA and Sun Belt teams.
Al Muskewitz covers Jacksonville State sports for The Star. He can be reached at 235-3577.