Last month, we took a look at the University of Southern Mississippi football program and its athletic director, Jeff Hammond, who a year ago inherited a coach he never wanted and a multi-million-dollar athletic department deficit he had to fix. Last month, he addressed the former by firing coach Ellis Johnson after an 0-12 season, even with $2.1 million remaining on his contract, and he had an eye on the latter when he moved USM's 2013 game against Nebraska from Hattiesburg, Miss., to Lincoln, Neb., for a payout of ... $2.1 million.
"In the end, the Nebraska option in Lincoln provided us the greatest financial opportunity to help us set future conditions for this program," Hammond said. "This is not something that I wanted to do. No one wanted to do this."
Hammond, we've learned, may not be done trying to wring more money out of the Golden Eagles' schedule. In July 2011, then-AD Richard Giannini—whom Hammond blamed for USM's sorry finances—finalized an agreement with BYU for a home-and-home series in 2014 and 2015. That contract is published here, and it's a fascinating glimpse at the legal framework behind football scheduling, but the thing to focus on is the guaranteed payments.