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Lobo football to face Tennessee Tech in 2023 home opener

The University of New Mexico football team will play its 2023 home opener against FCS Tennessee Tech on Sept. 9 as agreed upon in a contract that was finalized on Feb. 17, UNM announced on Friday.

UNM will pay Tennessee Tech of the Ohio Valley Conference $350,000 as part of the contract terms. It will be the first meeting between the two programs.

The contract included wording dealing with the coronavirus pandemic in addition to other force majeure events, including acts of God, tornado, flood, war, etc., for which neither party would be liable or responsible to the other party.

“The parties acknowledge that they enter this contract in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the contract states.

It also reads: “The parties agree that the existence of current Force Majeure Events is not predictive of future Force Majeure Events related to COVID-19, and that unforeseen consequences of future government actions related to COVID-19 shall entitle either part to invoke the protections of this Section.”

The Lobos had budgeted $2.2 million for guaranteed games in 2020, but it is expected to earn only $425,000 instead because of lost paydays from canceled games at USC and Mississippi State, the Journal reported earlier this month. UNM is getting $175,000 in a travel subsidy for playing at Hawaii last fall and $250,000 in advance for a $1.6 million deal to play at Oklahoma in 2026.

UNM’s game against Tennessee Tech will be the Lobos’ second of the 2023 season, following a trip to Texas A&M on Sept. 2. UNM is also scheduled to host rival New Mexico State in 2023, as the Lobos get the home game in odd-numbered years of the series.

UNM is scheduled to begin spring football practices on Tuesday. The Lobos are planning to hold practices Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday through April 3, UNM coach Danny Gonzales said.

There are plans for Saturday practices to be in the stadium, and for a limited number of spectators to be allowed in, following state guidelines.

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