The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

How much Eastern makes from guarantee games

Eastern football made $350,000 when they played Bowling Green State University this past season. (File)

Eastern’s athletics department made $715,000 in the fall semester of 2023 from football and basketball games.  

The football team received $350,000 for playing Bowling Green State University.  

The basketball team received a combined amount of $365,000 for playing the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Kansas, Iowa State University and Loyola University Chicago. 

These games are commonly called guarantee games. They are called this because the team is guaranteed to be paid whether they win or lose. 

A guarantee game is played between a bigger school and a smaller school. The bigger school pays the smaller school to come to them. For the bigger school, guarantee games are played to get a home game on the schedule and for a high chance of winning. The smaller, traveling school plays guarantee games to make money for its athletics department. 

The Eastern football team will also make $2.01 million over the next three years from playing Illinois, Northwestern University, the University of Alabama and the University of Minnesota. 

The money that Eastern’s athletics receives from these guarantee games will not be only for the teams that are playing the games. This money will go into the general athletic department revenue line that Eastern uses to offset expenses, Athletic Director Tom Michael said. 

Football and men’s and women’s basketball are the sports that receive the most compensation for playing a bigger opponent. Football and men’s basketball are the only sports at Eastern that receive more than the expenses used to play the game, including their travel expenses.  

This season, the Eastern women’s basketball team has made a combined amount of $67,000 from playing Indiana University, the University of New Mexico and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Most of the money that the team makes goes into paying for their travel expenses to get to the game. 

“So, we’re not necessarily making money,” Michael said. “We’ll make a little bit, but we’re not spending money.” 

Next season, the Panthers will play Northwestern and Illinois. This will be the first time they play two Power Five teams in the same year. The Panthers will receive $450,000 from Northwestern and $500,000 from Illinois.  

The Panthers are playing this extra guarantee game next season, Michael said, to pay for the new turf that was installed at O’Brien Field. 

According to Michael, the turf was in horrible shape, to the point where it was likely unsafe to play on.  

“We had to do something to get that [turf] replaced, and we have these two games next year,” Michael said. “That’s when we said ‘Hey, if we play that second [guarantee] game can those expenses then go to covering the turf?’ and the university said ‘Yes, that’s a way that we can help offset those expenses.’” 


Luther Yoder can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Luther Yoder
Luther Yoder, Assistant Sports Editor
Luther Yoder is a sophomore journalism major. This is his first year at The News.
Rob Le Cates
Rob Le Cates, Editor-in-Chief
Rob Le Cates is a junior journalism major. He previously served as summer editor-in-chief, photo editor and assistant photo editor at The News.

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