When Tennessee State secured a deal to play Notre Dame, it pulled in a seven-figure pay day.
Notre Dame and TSU agreed to a $1 million payout for the contest between the two teams, according to a freedom of information act request filed by the Tennessean. The Sept. 2, 2023 game will be the first time Notre Dame has hosted a historically black college (HBCU) or a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) program period.
Notre Dame VP of Athletics Dr. Jack Swarbrick told the crowd in a half-joking manner during a press conference earlier this month that TSU director of athletics Dr. Mikki Allen drove a hard bargain during negotiations.
“Dr. Allen negotiated for a bigger guarantee than we budgeted,” he said at the time.
Indeed, it is the largest payout for Tennessee State — if not amongst all HBCUs.
“I look around here — y’all can make it happen,” Tennessee State head football coach Eddie George said with a laugh. “Y’all doing really well around here, I can see. It’s a drop in the bucket.”
The money will be put to use by TSU as it looks to continue to upgrade its entire athletics program as it looks at a possible jump to the FBS.
“We continue to make investments not only in our football program but holistically in our student-athlete development programs,” Dr. Allen said. “Like, you reference our facilities. To advance our programs, we know that we need support. And so this game guarantee is something that will be special. But we’re also getting private funding. And people in our Big Blue community are really buying into what we’re doing.”
Between internal fundraising efforts and a big payday by Notre Dame, an influx of cash is definitely on its way to Nashville.