Kentucky adds Eastern Illinois to 2028 football schedule

By Kevin Kelley -

The Kentucky Wildcats have added the Eastern Illinois Panthers to their 2028 football schedule, has learned.

A copy of the football game contract with the University of Kentucky was obtained from the Eastern Illinois University via a state public records request.

Kentucky will host Eastern Illinois at Kroger Field in Lexington, Ky., on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2028. The Wildcats will pay the Panthers a $650,000 guarantee for playing the game, according to the copy of the contract.

The 2028 Kentucky-Eastern Illinois contest will mark the first-ever meeting between the two schools on the gridiron.

Eastern Illinois is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The Panthers finished the 2021 season 1-10 overall and 1-5 in OVC action.

With the addition of Eastern Illinois, Kentucky now has three scheduled non-conference opponents for the 2028 season. The Wildcats are currently scheduled to open the season on the road against the Toledo Rockets on Sept. 2 and will close out the regular-season at home in Lexington against the in-state rival Louisville Cardinals on Nov. 25.

Eastern Illinois is sixth non-conference FCS game Kentucky’s future schedules. The Wildcats are scheduled to host Youngstown State in 2022 and 2026, Eastern Kentucky in 2023, and Murray State in 2024 and 2027.

Kentucky is the first scheduled non-conference opponent for Eastern Illinois’ 2028 schedule.

Other future FBS opponents for Eastern Illinois include Northern Illinois (2022), Bowling Green (2023), Illinois (2024), Alabama (2025), and Minnesota (2026).

Football Schedules