During a University of Missouri system board of trustees meeting at UMKC in October 2011, Missouri athletic director Mike Alden was pressed about and affirmed his commitment to maintaining a presence for Tigers athletics in Kansas City.
MU followed through Thursday, finalizing its 2015 football schedule by announcing a game against BYU on Nov. 14 at Arrowhead Stadium.
“This is honoring a commitment that was made back in 2011,” said Missouri executive associate athletic director Bryan Maggard, who is in charge of football scheduling. “It was more about that than anything else.”
The announcement wraps up a two-and-a-half-year process that was hampered, in part, by the Tigers’ move to the SEC, which caused a major reshuffling in its future schedules.
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BYU also had to move a game from its 2015 schedule, setting in motion a domino effect that left as many as five teams in flux, Maggard said.
Finally, Wednesday night all the pieces clicked into place.
“That’s sweet,” former MU star and current Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel said. “It’s about time we get back to Arrowhead. That’s awesome. We’ve had some good memories here.”
Missouri-BYU will be the first Football Bowl Subdivision game at the stadium since the Tigers’ 24-10 victory against archrival Kansas in November 2011, MU’s final regular-season game as a member of the Big 12.
“There are a lot of moving parts,” Alden said. “This was not just as simple as contacting BYU or BYU contacting Mizzou and saying, ‘Hey, let’s play.’ You have to talk about dates that have to be matched up, schedules that maybe have to be modified or whatever that may be. That’s what’s taken so long, so there are a lot of people that helped cooperate with regards to this game coming together outside of Kansas City: the Chiefs, the Tigers and BYU.”
Chiefs president Mark Donovan said Andy Reid was a secret weapon in bringing the game together.
Reid played with BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe for the Cougars under LaVell Edwards and also served as an assistant coach at Missouri from 1989-91.
“He’s been sort of behind the scenes working for us and we appreciate his help in making today a reality,” Donovan said.
As part of the agreement, Missouri will play Nov. 7, 2020, at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah.
“(Missouri) has been here before obviously with some great games and clearly (is) a huge presence in Kansas City,” Donovan said. “… We love having the Tigers back at Arrowhead. They’ll bring a great fanbase and we’re excited about the matchup. When you’ve got BYU, a national brand, to be able to come in and play them, it shapes up to be a great day.”
Technically, it will be a Missouri home game, but the BYU matchup will not be part of the 2015 season-ticket package, Alden said.
The Tigers will have six games at Memorial Stadium — Southeast Missouri State (Sept. 5), Connecticut (Sept. 19), South Carolina (Oct. 3), Florida (Oct. 10), Mississippi State (Thursday, Nov. 5) and Tennessee (Nov. 21).
Maggard said ESPN works closely with BYU on its scheduling and that the network’s vice president for programming, Dave Brown, was instrumental in helping shift games around and allow Missouri-BYU to materialize.
“Between BYU and Missouri, we’re splitting some costs and that’s all being worked out,” Maggard said. “There will be a guarantee, the typical guarantee of $250,000 or something like that, that we pay them and they’ll pay us when we go out there. Plus, both schools will have some additional costs to make all the changes that we had to make whole.”
Among those changes, UNLV agreed to move its home game with BYU — which was originally scheduled for Nov. 14, 2015 — into 2016 or 2017 to accommodate BYU’s desire to play Missouri at Arrowhead.
Alden and Donovan said ticket prices probably will be announced after Jan. 1 and tickets will go on sale shortly afterward.
There will be a Jackson County presale, which is typical for any major event after the taxpayer-funded renovations at Arrowhead that completed before the 2010 season.
Chiefs and Missouri season-ticket holders also will have access to a presale.
“We’re pretty close to be able to offer Chiefs season-ticket holders their seat for the game,” Donovan said. “We’re working through a couple technical things and making sure that we can still take care of Missouri’s needs, too.”
Alden said there are no talks underway for another game at Arrowhead in the future.
There were some discussions about moving the Arkansas State game to St. Louis or Kansas City, but ultimately the Red Wolves elected to keep the game in Jonesboro, Ark.
Alden said there are no ongoing talks about a future neutral-site game at Arrowhead or the Edward Jones Dome, home of the Rams.
“Right now, we’re just taking a breath,” he said.