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UAlbany gets paid to play superior opponents

December 1, 2011

UAlbany vs. Pittsburgh

Photo Courtesy The Troy Record

The Great Danes of the University at Albany traveled to Pittsburgh on Nov. 11 to take on the defending Big East champions, the Pittsburgh Panthers. While the school typically opens the season against a lesser opponent, the players and coaches were excited to test their skills against one of the nation’s best teams. But despite their best efforts, UAlbany was pummeled 89-56.

This didn’t surprise the heads in the second floor office level of UAlbany’s SEFCU Arena because the school was paid nearly $100,000 to lose that game.

UAlbany’s $100,000 contract with Pittsburgh was hardly a large one compared to what other schools have been paid in the past. In 2009, the Michigan Wolverines football program paid $550,000 to Delaware State in exchange for allowing them to beat down on them for 60 minutes.

Money games are hardly anything new in the arena of college sports nor are they anything new at UAlbany. In the early part of last decade, when UAlbany’s Division I program was first getting its legs, the university signed a contract with Syracuse University in which Syracuse agreed to play one game at the Times Union Center if UAlbany agreed to play a few games at the Carrier Dome plus some extra cash.

“Obviously it helps to support the overall operations of our programs,”said Associate Athletic Director Rick Coe.

Coe pointed out that while the largest contracts come from the men’s basketball and football programs, other sports also play in these “guarantee” games. Sometimes UAlbany doesn’t turn a profit, the school they go to will simply cover travel and lodging expenses.

But don’t expect to see the Orange or any similarly skilled team to show up at SEFCU Arena anytime soon.

“Most of those type of institutions, they’re not going to come here and play us for fear they don’t want to lose a game,” said Coe. “They don’t want to play an away game that’s not going to be of significance for them with the opportunity that there could be a loss.”

UAlbany will play in another guarantee game Dec. 28 against Maryland.


From → Sports

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