Georgia has added Florida Atlantic to its 2012 football schedule for a $1 million guarantee. It’s the highest payout ever for a Bulldogs opponent.
The home game on Sept. 15, 2012 replaces a road game originally scheduled with Louisville and sets up what could be an intriguing coaching matchup between Georgia’s Mark Richt and Florida Atlantic’s Howard Schnellenberger.
Richt played quarterback for Schnellenberger, now 76, at Miami.
"That was a part that made it even more appealing was you had a chance to have a connection there with two coaches," Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said. "That was sort of an added bonus, that relationship there. Mark was excited about that opportunity."
Florida Atlantic and Georgia have signed a memorandum of understanding for the Sun Belt Conference team to play on the same date that the Bulldogs were scheduled to play at Louisville.
Games with the Cardinals in 2011 and 2012 were canceled so Georgia could schedule Boise State to open next season in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.
The $1 million payout to Florida Atlantic tops the $975,000 that Georgia is paying for home games against Buffalo in 2012 and North Texas in 2013. The Florida Atlantic game, like those two, is a one-game deal without Georgia having to make a return trip.
There is a $1 million cancellation fee, according to a copy of the memorandum of understanding obtained under an open records request.
"To find teams that were willing to play on that date that deep in the season, the pool is very, very small," McGarity said. "A lot of teams now are demanding $950,000 to $1 million. Those are just the numbers that are out there now."
Florida Atlantic, located in Boca Raton, is 4-7 this season with a game still to play against Troy on Saturday.
Schnellenberger’s contract runs through the end of the 2011 season, according to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.