After last week’s announcement that the BYU Cougars and Utah State Aggies won’t play each other in football for at least a few years after their 2022 game, BYU’s 2023 nonconference schedule appeared to be set as it transitions into the Big 12 Conference.
With the cancellation of the Utah State contest, the Cougars were primed to face Tennessee, SUU and Arkansas.
On Monday, however, Tennessee announced that its game against BYU in Provo has been canceled, and that it will instead open the 2023 season versus Virginia in Nashville.
According to OutKick’s Trey Wallace, the contract between BYU and Tennessee — it was a two-game series, with the first one having been played in 2019 — said either school would be penalized $2 million if they were to cancel one of the games.
In order to offset that cost, the first $2 million in ticket sales to the Tennessee-Virginia game will go to BYU, Wallace and others reported.
Tennessee athletic director Danny White released a statement to multiple outlets which read, “Pivoting to play a marquee nonconference opponent in Nashville made sense for multiple reasons.
This is a more accessible game for our fanbase. I expect that we will have a much larger contingent of fans in Nashville than would have been able to travel to Utah. Our fans also have heard me talk about the importance of finding new revenue to grow our operating budget, and playing Virginia at Nissan Stadium is an opportunity for a net-positive revenue game.
I appreciate Virginia AD Carla Williams and the Nashville Sports Council for working with us to make this attractive matchup happen.”
It is not known where BYU will turn to fill the now-open slot on its schedule.