Last December, the Florida Gators and Michigan Wolverines jointly announced that the schools had agreed to open up 2017 season against each other at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX in what will be named the 2017 Cowboys Classic.
Additional details on the Sept. 2, 2017 game, Florida’s first non-conference regular season contest outside the state since 1991, were released Friday via a public records request made by the Palm Beach Post‘s Phillip Heilman, among others.
Previously known details:
– Each team receives $6 million for participating in the game.
– Each school is allotted 25,000 tickets to divvy up amongst its fans.
– Florida is the home team and will wear dark jerseys; Michigan is the away team and will wear light jerseys.
– Officials from the Big 12 have been hired to officiate the game.
– ESPN has signed on as a production partner for the game but a broadcast partner (ESPN or CBS) appears to not yet be designated. Whichever network is chosen will have the exclusive rights to sign a title sponsor for the game.
– ESPN can cancel the game if the Gators are slapped with serious NCAA violations but will be forced to find Florida an FBS opponent to play a game the same day at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. (The same likely goes for the Wolverines.)
– Schools are not required to pay for unsold tickets but must return them for resale.
– The stadium will decide whether to open or close the roof for the game.
– Alcohol will be sold at the game with sales ending in non-premium sections at the conclusion of the third quarter.
– Ticket prices: $50 (students), $150 (upper deck), $200 (most end zones), $300 (sidelines), $350 (center sidelines).
The Gators and Wolverines have not squared off on the gridiron since the 2008 Capital One Bowl. Michigan topped Florida 41-35 in former head coach Lloyd Carr’s last game and the final contest of Tim Tebow’s Heisman Trophy-winning season.
UF also fell to UM 38-30 in the 2003 Outback Bowl.
The one drawback for the Gators in scheduling an additional neutral-site games is the removal of a record-friendly, revenue-generating home contest from their schedule. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley cautioned in Dec. that this will not be a regular occurrence.
“I think when you are presented with unique opportunities you need to look at it for your fans’ sake, for your program’s sake,” he said. “It’s something we will not do on a consistent basis because we like playing seven home games. Seven home games are obviously important to our program, important to the city of Gainesville.
“It will be very much the exception, not the rule, but to sit here and totally close the door on these opportunities just doesn’t make sense.”
He added: “This is a great opportunity to expose the University of Florida nationally, playing one of the greatest programs in the history of college football, I think a tremendous trip for our fans. We just haven’t done much of this, certainly as long as I’ve been athletic director. I think there are a lot of positives that come out of it.”