University of New Mexico athletic director Eddie Nuñez has used the mentality of “football will take care of football,” when trying to find ways to cover for former coach Bob Davie’s buyout of $825,000 that will be paid in 30 monthly checks.
Lobo football will also have to take care of some demanding matchups in the future.
UNM will play at Auburn in 2024 (Sept. 14) for a $1.9 million payday, the university announced on Wednesday. It is the largest such deal UNM has struck in its program history.
The future guaranteed money game comes in addition to the Lobos playing at Oklahoma in 2026 (Sept. 19) for $1.6 million, Nuñez told the Journal on Tuesday.
Nuñez said the money from future games against Power 5 teams will help pay for Davie’s buyout. UNM actually struck the agreement with Auburn back in June. Nuñez finalized the deal with Oklahoma on Nov. 12.
New Mexico also announced an agreement to play “home and home” games with Oregon State, with the 2027 Lobos going to Corvallis, Ore. on Sept. 11, and Oregon State coming to Albuquerque in 2028 (Sept. 9). No guaranteed money comes from such agreements.
Nuñez also said UNM is paying a search firm $50,000 to assist in identifying suitable candidates to be the Lobos’ next football coach.
“I’m not asking the athletic department to find ways for the money (for Davie’s buyout),” Nuñez said. “The way I looked at it was I’ve looked at the future football games, game guarantees.
“We’re ready to move forward for the betterment of our program and an opportunity to bring in a new coach.”
Regarding the Oklahoma game, $250,000 will be paid to UNM no later than April 1, 2021, according to the game contract. New Mexico will also have 400 complimentary tickets and an option to sell 1,100 more.
UNM will receive $1.9 million on or before March 1, 2025 for the Auburn game, and will also receive 500 complimentary tickets with the option to purchase 2,000 more.
The Lobos have never faced the Auburn Tigers, who are 9-3 this season and will play Minnesota in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1.
New Mexico has played Oklahoma twice before, going 0-2 with both games in the 1930s. The Sooners (12-1), as the No. 4 seed, play against No. 1 LSU in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 28 in a College Football Playoff semifinal for the right to play for the national championship.
The Lobos, who went 2-10 this past season, lost 66-14 at Notre Dame on Sept. 14 in their guaranteed money game ($1.1 million) for 2019.
Next year, the Lobos will have two “buy” games. They will play at Mississippi State ($1 million). on Sept. 5, and then at USC ($1.05 million, $100,000 of which was paid in 2014) on Sept. 12.
Future UNM guaranteed money games include:
■ at Texas A&M (Sept. 18, 2021, $1.1 million)
■ at LSU (Sept. 10, 2022, $1.6 million)
■ at Texas A&M (Sept. 2, 2023, $1.6 million)
■ at UCLA (Sept. 13, 2025, $1.2 million)
Below are the contracts for the games announced Wednesday: