The Arkansas State Athletic Department announced Thursday it has renewed its football series with long-time rival Memphis for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, and has also secured an unprecedented $1-million dollar contract to play at Auburn in 2010.
Arkansas State's $1-million contract with Auburn is the largest in school history, topping the previous high of $900,000 with Iowa for the 2009 season. The Red Wolves and Tigers are slated to meet Sept. 4, 2010.
Arkansas State and Auburn have met just once before, a 27-0 victory by the Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2006. While the crowd of 78,943 for the 2006 game is currently the ninth largest to ever watch ASU play, it was the sixth largest at the time of the game.
"When we've had to look at playing guarantee games, we have tried to maximize those opportunities," said ASU Director of Athletics Dr. Dean Lee. "The million-dollar mark is a small milestone to help us ensure that we are achieving full-market value for Arkansas State."
While the Red Wolves home game against Memphis on Sept. 10, 2011 will conclude a four-year home-and-home series, the new two-year home-and-home series with the Tigers guarantees that ASU's oldest rivalry game will continue through at least 2013. As the first part of the longest series in ASU football history, Memphis will visit Jonesboro again on Sept. 8, 2012 before the Red Wolves return the game on Sept. 21, 2013.
Arkansas State has played Memphis 55 times since the teams first met in 1914. The Tigers snapped a two-game skid against the Red Wolves last season in a series that has featured some recent excitement. ASU won in 2006 at the Liberty Bowl on a deep pass as time expired and again in 2007 in Jonesboro when it overcame a 25-point halftime deficit. The Red Wolves also hosted Memphis in 2004 and set the ASU Stadium record for attendance with 30,427 people on hand.
"We are delighted to renew our contract with Memphis," said Lee. "It has proven to be a highly competitive game that has been great for both fan bases."
In addition to the scheduled four home conference games, ASU has now secured a home game with Louisville in 2010 and a home game with Memphis in both 2011 and 2012. Arkansas State head coach Steve Roberts has led the Red Wolves to a 26-8 record at ASU Stadium over the last seven years for a .765 winning percentage. Not only that, the Red Wolves are 17-3 at ASU Stadium over the last four seasons.