USM Sells Home Game to Buy Out Coach

Southern Miss football fans will be angry to hear that a long-anticipated, 2013 home game against Nebraska has been moved from Hattiesburg to Lincoln.

An agreed-upon contract between Cornhuskers AD Tom Osborne and his USM counterpart, Jeff Hammond, states that the Golden Eagles “shall be paid a flat dollar guarantee of $2,125,000” for the venue change. This news broke during the same week that head coach Ellis Johnson was fired following a disastrous 0–12 season.

The cost to USM of buying out his contract: $2.1 million.

Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky reports that Hammond had looked to change the venue of the 2013 Southern Miss-Nebraska game long before Johnson’s firing, as the Golden Eagles athletics department is deep in debt. When it became clear that Johnson had to go after his winless season, the money once earmarked for debt relief went instead to Johnson’s buyout.

It’s the latest example of how cruel a business college sports can be. As well as a reminder that college sports is, in fact, a business.


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