BY JEREMY HOECK
The University of South Dakota football program has locked up another FBS game on the West Coast.
This one, though, will pocket the Coyotes more money then they’ve ever earned for a so-called ‘guarantee’ game.
South Dakota will play California on Sept. 3, 2016, according to announcements made Monday by both schools. The contract is for $550,000, USD athletic director David Herbster said.
Conversations with UC Davis and Cal Poly about potential series eventually led USD to put in some calls to Cal of the Pac-12 Conference, Herbster said.
“During that process, we became aware that Cal had an opening, so we began the conversation and it just so happened that the dates worked out,” he said.
That was over the summer, but Cal wanted to wait and release the USD game with a handful of other upcoming games — which Cal did in Monday’s release.
The Coyotes, who opened this season at Oregon for a $525,000 guarantee, now have FBS games secured for 2015 (Kansas State), 2016 (Cal) and 2020 (Iowa State).
The game with the Cal Golden Bears will also mark the third consecutive season USD will play a game on the West Coast. The Coyotes are scheduled to return to UC Davis on Sept. 12, 2015.
“We’ve played plenty of games out there, and we’ve seen through that, that we have a big alumni base out there,” Herbster said.
Playing Cal, rather than say UC Davis or Cal Poly, might entice more of those graduates to attend, he added.
“This one is more of a destination game; more of a draw,” Herbster said.
South Dakota’s schedule for 2015 is set, according to Herbster. The Coyotes will transition back to 11 games because of the calendar (available weekends), and will visit Kansas State and UC Davis, and host Drake, in the non-conference. Then comes eight Missouri Valley contests.