Southern Miss pulled off a trade with Nebraska that really doesn't jibe with the romantic and antiquated notion that college athletics aren't all about the money.
Southern Miss secured a home game in its three-year scheduling contract with Nebraska. The Golden Eagles fans, and players, had to be excited about that. But, a coach needed to be fired and bought out. And, according to Deadspin, Southern Miss agreed to let Nebraska host that 2013 game for almost exactly the amount of money that it needed to give coach Ellis Johnson when it fired him.
Deadspin, citing a letter between the schools' athletic directors that was dated last week, said Southern Miss agreed to transfer the home game to Nebraska for $2.125 million. The school had to pay Johnson $2.1 million when it fired him after an 0-12 season.
The Deadspin story -- which is a long and fascinating read on the various problems USM's athletic program has had lately, just one year after finishing 12-2 and ranked 20th in the final AP poll -- says that Southern Miss had already begun the process of selling the game to Nebraska before it fired Johnson. It apparently just worked out to about the same amount.
Business wise, this is the right decision. It trades one game in order to balance the books on a failed coach, and the Golden Eagles can move on without that hanging over their budget. It also avoids taking money from the university to pay it off. But, it does reinforce that above all else, college athletics is a pretty straightforward multimillion dollar business.
The Deadspin story said USM will get an allotment of 350 tickets for the Nebraska game. Quite a beneficial trade for Southern Miss' fans.
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