How much is Oregon paying BYU to visit Autzen Stadium? Will Ducks return the game in Provo?
In a rare ‘payday’ game for the Big 12-bound Cougars, No. 12 BYU will receive $1.1 million and the game will be officiated by Pac-12 referees
BYU’s football game against No. 25 Oregon at Autzen Stadium on Saturday will be historic, and not just because the Cougars haven’t been to Eugene, Oregon, since 1990 — the year Ty Detmer won the Heisman Trophy but lost 34-16 to rival QB Bill Musgrave and the Ducks.
It will almost certainly be the final time BYU plays what is called a “money game” or a “payday game” or, as was the case when Utah State traveled to Alabama two weeks ago and lost 55-0, a “body bag game.”
“What comes to mind when you think of the Ducks, is the ‘wow’ factor. You are excited to be there. They have a culture there, which has always been throughout college football. It is just, ‘wow.’ It is, ‘dang, I want to play against them. I want to play with them.’” — BYU cornerback Kaleb Hayes
It is a money game because the Cougars will receive $1.1 million for making the trip, according to the official game contract signed in 2015 (as reported by Matt Brown’s Extra Points newsletter). Oregon will not be making a trip to Provo in the foreseeable future, so this is not the typical home-and-home agreement that BYU has been playing as a college football independent the past 12 seasons.
When the Cougars agreed to the game in 2015, athletic director Tom Holmoe said Oregon had an opening in its 2022 schedule “and the circumstance was right” for BYU.
“We hope to develop a long-term relationship with Oregon,” Holmoe said at the time.
According to the contract, the showdown of ranked teams (1:30 p.m. MDT, Fox) will be officiated by a Pac-12 crew and the replay review officials will also be from Oregon’s conference.
Aside from 2020, the COVID-19 year when everything was scrambled, BYU pays for one money game a year, generally. This year, the Cougars will pay Utah Tech $425,000 to play at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Nov. 19.
Next year, BYU will pay Southern Utah $475,000 to play Sept. 9, 2023, in Provo. The contract was originally for $425,000, but BYU is paying SUU an additional $50,000 to move the game to that date from its originally scheduled date in November.
As of Wednesday midday, some 2,000 tickets remained available for Saturday’s game at 54,000-seat Autzen Stadium. Monday, new Ducks coach Dan Lanning called for Oregon fans to create a home-field advantage.
“I know that they are going to be cranked up louder, more intense, this next week,” Lanning said. “I think this is the kind of game where the Autzen crowd can make a big, big impact in the game.”
Meanwhile, BYU players and coaches have expressed excitement about playing a storied program in its home venue.
“What comes to mind when you think of the Ducks, is the ‘wow’ factor. You are excited to be there,” said BYU cornerback Kaleb Hayes, a former Oregon State player. “They have a culture there, which has always been throughout college football. It is just, ‘wow.’ It is, ‘Dang, I want to play against them. I want to play with them.’”
Hayes said Oregon’s colorful and creative jersey combinations are always the talk of college football.
“You know, I am jealous,” he said. “I always used to say at Oregon State we used to get hand-me-downs from Oregon, which made us play a little bit better, made us have a chip on our shoulders and made us play a little bit harder. Nah, I like Oregon. Like I say, I am a fan. I love it.”
BYU safety Malik Moore is also a big fan — of the Oregon uniforms.
“Same thing — the jerseys,” Moore said, when asked the first thing that comes to mind when he thinks of Oregon. “I keep it real. The jerseys, you know. Oregon is obviously a good team. But we are going into the game like it is another game. We don’t go into games fearing anybody. … It is just another game to me. But whenever I think of Oregon, I just think of the cool uniforms.”
Cougars on the air
No. 12 BYU (2-0) at No. 25 Oregon (1-1)
Saturday, 1:30 p.m. MDT
Radio: KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM