The tiny bible college lost to Georgia Southern in historic fashion. Was their monetary guarantee, some complimentary tickets, and a postgame meal ultimately worth it?
It’s common practice in college sports for a school with a competitive advantage to schedule a football or basketball game with a smaller school, blow them out, then cut the small school a check for its trouble. These are called “guarantee” or “buy” games, and they really only make national news when there’s a monumental upset. Think Appalachian State over Michigan in football or Stephen F. Austin over Duke in men’s basketball.
The Georgia Southern vs. Carver College women’s basketball game on Monday should have never become a story covered by CBS Sports or ESPN. But Georgia Southern beat the Cougars by 118 points, 133-15, marking the second-largest margin of victory in Division I women’s basketball history.
The box score tells the game story for anyone interested in the lurid details. Carver, which competes in the National Christian College Athletic Association, committed 49 turnovers, shot 12% for the game, and went scoreless in the second quarter.
What doesn’t show up in the game stats is what, exactly, Carver got out of being embarrassed.
A public records request submitted to Georgia Southern University on Tuesday revealed that Carver College received just a $2,500 payment for Monday’s historic loss — along with a postgame meal that the contract outlines would consist of a food that was specifically not pizza.
(Yes. Pizza was literally outlawed under the terms of the agreement.)
Carver also received 30 complimentary tickets, presumably for family and friends, to watch the beatdown.
The school’s men’s program gained national notoriety last year by playing such games against Division I programs and routinely losing by 60-or-more points. For each of those games, the team received a guarantee of between $2,000 and $2,600 plus a postgame pizza meal for the team, according to game contracts.
For context, AthleticDirectorU studied buy game contracts from the 2019-20 men’s basketball season and found that in Division I, they averaged $90,000 per game, or 36 times more than what Carver got this week. In football, Clemson paid UConn $1.2 million for a game this season. The Tigers won that game 44-7 and everyone forgot about it by the next day.
The Carver women got $2,500 to lose by 118 points and earn headlines like these:
Hopefully, the postgame meal of not-pizza was at least reasonably tasty.