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Colleges pay big–and get big money–to play football

FILE - Utah Utes linebacker Chase Hansen pulls in an interception with Utah Utes defensive back Javelin K. Guidry and USC Trojans wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown at bottom and left during NCAA football in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah is paying Idaho State $550,000 to play them at Rice-Eccles Stadium this weekend. But payments like that are very common in college football.

The Bengals are expected to lose handily to the No. 11 ranked Utes, but that money can cover costs like hotels and transportation as well as help smaller programs get more exposure.

BYU pays an average of $250,000 for teams to play them and receives hundreds of thousands of dollars from other schools for their road games.

Other Utah teams will be paid large sums of money to play on the road this year: Utah State will receive $1.5 million to face Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Weber State is being paid at least $400,000 for games at San Diego State and the University of Nevada, while Southern Utah will get $325,000 for a game at UNLV.