BYU’s nonconference football schedule in 2023 is still unfinished after Tennessee bought out a September game, but at least it is becoming more clear.

According to documents obtained by the Deseret News through an open records request to Southern Utah University, the SUU vs. BYU game originally scheduled to be played on Nov. 18, 2023, has been moved to Sept. 9, 2023.

The move clears the way for BYU to be available to play Big 12 games any weekend between Sept. 23 and the end of the regular season in 2023. The Big 12’s 2023 schedule is expected to be released in October. 

Big 12 athletic directors, including newcomers such as BYU’s Tom Holmoe, are meeting in Irving, Texas, this week to discuss a variety of topics, including an expected nine-game conference schedule. BYU is clearly making moves in anticipation of a nine-game Big 12 schedule in 2023.

After Tennessee announced on May 16 that it was paying BYU $2 million to get off the Cougars’ home schedule in 2023, BYU was left with just two nonconference games next year: at Arkansas on Sept. 16 (the Cougars will host the Razorbacks on Oct. 15 this year) and a guaranteed payday game vs. SUU.

Now that it is known that BYU will host SUU in Week 2, the only opening remaining for a nonconference game is during Week 1. That’s when the Cougars were hoping to host the Volunteers.

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An amendment to the original BYU-SUU contract was signed May 3, 2022, by Holmoe and SUU athletic director Debbie Corum, who is retiring on June 30. The amendment to the original agreement signed in June 2019 calls for BYU to pay SUU an additional $50,000 to travel to Provo “to help offset the cost of rescheduling a 2023 game between (SUU) and Western Illinois.”

If BYU schedules SUU in the future, beyond the 2023 game, that $50K payment would be applied toward the total payment for that future game. The contract states that both sides will engage in a “good faith” effort to schedule a future game.

The original agreement — which hasn’t changed, except for the new playing date — calls for BYU to pay SUU $425,000 for the visit. When BYU hosted SUU in November 2016, it paid the T-Birds $400,000 for the visit, which was a “discount” at the time considering the University of Utah paid SUU $435,000 for a game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in September.

Interestingly, BYU has the same clause in the original contract with SUU that it used to get out of a series with Utah State, but is not invoking it. The Cougars can cancel without penalty, all their contracts say, if they join a Power Five conference.

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