JONESBORO -- Arkansas State University Athletic Director Terry Mohajir's vision of growing the Red Wolves' football brand took another step Thursday.
ASU officially announced that it will head to Columbus, Ohio, in 2022 to face the Ohio State Buckeyes, in what will be the inaugural meeting between the two schools. The game will be Sept. 10, the second week of the season. It will be just the second time ever the Buckeyes have played a team from the Sun Belt Conference.
"I've said it many times that we're going to try to play the biggest brands in college football, and that's part of our scheduling philosophy," Mohajir said. "The only way that we really change the perception of our program is you got to play elite programs and beat them. It's like playing the lottery -- you got to play them to beat them."
Mohajir said the move had been in the works for a "few months." In the process, Mohajir secured another huge payday for the Red Wolves. Ohio State is paying ASU $1.8 million to play, which ties the record for the biggest single-game scheduling payout to the Red Wolves in school history.
Georgia also is paying ASU $1.8 million to play next month in Athens, Ga., and so is Michigan to play next year in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Last year, the Red Wolves traveled to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to play Alabama, which was a $1.7 million payout. The year prior, Nebraska forked over $1.65 million to host ASU in Lincoln, Neb. In 2021, ASU will travel to Seattle to play Washington. The Huskies are paying ASU $1.75 million for that game.
Scheduling Ohio State, which has claimed three of the last five Big Ten championships and won their eighth national title in 2014, fills the third of ASU's four nonconference openings for 2022. The Red Wolves also will travel to Memphis to face the Tigers on Sept. 3 and host Massachusetts on Nov. 12.
"Really what this game does, to me, is, when I first got here, they wouldn't play us," Mohajir said of facing Ohio State. "And so because of, I think, our emerging brand, they agreed to play us, and same with Michigan, because that's just not typically what Big Ten teams do, is play teams from the Sun Belt."
Sports on 08/23/2019
Print Headline: ASU, Ohio State scheduled for '22