The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will be paid a combined $170,000 for playing basketball games at LSU and Georgia Tech this season.
They won't get a dime from playing at No. 7 Kansas tonight in Allen Fieldhouse.
Almost every team from a one-bid league such as the Southern Conference has to play money games to pay the bills. Kansas paid UTC to open the 2003-04 season.
But not this time.
The game is part of the 12-team CBE College Hall of Fame Classic which is a multiple-site tournament including teams from Washington State to USC Upstate.
The payout for UTC comes in the form of being a sub-host and playing three games in McKenzie Arena against other mid-major programs.
"The most important thing we wanted was the three home games," coach John Shulman said. "We got the short end of the stick financially, but that's OK because we got three home games."
UTC will play Southeast Missouri on Sunday, Troy on Monday and La. Tech on Tuesday. There will be two games each day in a round-robin format.
WSU, Kansas, Texas A&M and St. Louis have already hosted games. The pre-determined semifinals with those four teams and the championship will be held in Kansas City.
UTC could have played at any of those four schools. Assistant coach Brent Jolly, who set up most of UTC's schedule, suggested playing at St. Louis or WSU.
"I said, 'Let's go play Kansas,' because if we're going to do this, we're going to do this up," Shulman said. "You want to play the best and have that experience. It's going to be the greatest experience until that ball tips up."
The Mocs bused to Nashville early Wednesday afternoon then took a direct flight to Kansas City on Southwest Airlines. Matt Pope, senior associate athletics director, estimated that the trip (including team personnel, administrators, and a few others) would cost about $20,000.
It's priceless for the players.
"I might take a look around, see where I'm at and say, 'I'm at Kansas,'" sophomore Ronrico White said. "For their history, for the way the fans are at Kansas, playing at Kansas is something you wish for not matter what school you're playing for."
UTC will get paid $90,000 when it plays in Baton Rouge on Dec. 11 and $80,000 for a day-trip down to Georgia Tech on Jan. 2.
"That money offsets already budgeted expenses," Pope said. "It does help [Shulman's] program, but he can't go like, 'Oooh, I've got $170,000 to spend.'"
Shulman can brag about having the best UTC home schedule of his tenure. And players can brag about their moment, the 3-pointer they made, the steal they took, or perhaps the long upset they pulled -- in Allen Fieldhouse.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...