Ohio State, Kentucky swap 2024 non-conference football opponents

By Kevin Kelley -

The Ohio State Buckeyes and Kentucky Wildcats have swapped out non-conference football opponents in 2024, according to announcements on Tuesday.

Ohio State was previously scheduled to host the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2024. According to an announcement from both schools, the contest has been mutually canceled.

Southern Miss was set to receive a $1.9 million guarantee for the game at Ohio State, according to a copy of the contract.

Instead of playing at Ohio State, Southern Miss will now travel to take on the Kentucky Wildcats at Kroger Field in Lexington, Ky., on Aug. 31, 2024. Kentucky was previously scheduled to travel to face the Akron Zips on the same date.

As part of a four-team non-conference switcheroo, Akron will now travel to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes in place of the Kentucky contest on, you guessed it, Aug. 31, 2024.

The Kentucky at Akron contest in 2024 was part of an amended three-game football series between the two schools. The two schools played the first game of the series earlier this season in Lexington, with the Zips receiving a $750,000 guarantee for the contest, per a copy of the documents.

Akron was set to receive a $750,000 guarantee from Kentucky for the 2024 contest in Akron as well as an additional $550,000 for a contest in 2026 in Lexington. The current status of the financial guarantees, including the game in 2026, is now in question.

On the surface, the impetus for this four-team switch appears to be that Kentucky wanted out of the road contest against Akron. The three-game series was originally scheduled back in 2017 and was supposed to begin in 2021. The contract was first amended only one year after it was signed before being changed a second time in early 2021.

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Comments (5)

How would Akron be getting $750,000 from Kentucky for a game in Akron? That makes no sense. Usually, a team only gets a payout for playing someone on the road.

It was spreading the timing out. Akron might typically get $1M+ for the Kentucky visits in an unbalanced series.