Western Michigan football adds Ohio State, drops Cincinnati for '24; swap nets $1.3M

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Western Michigan football is trading one Ohio power for another.

The Broncos will travel to play at Ohio State in 2024, making room on the schedule by canceling a scheduled home game with Cincinnati. 

Western Michigan coach Tim Lester.

The contract will wipe out an entire home-and-home series with Cincinnati, which was scheduled to host Western Michigan in 2020. That game was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In making the swap, Western Michigan will receive $1.8 million from Ohio State. After paying Cincinnati a $500,000 buyout, WMU will net $1.3 million. The Broncos have been adjusting their athletic budget since before COVID-19 hit in the spring of 2020.

The date of the 2024 game hasn't been announced, but it's likely to be Saturday, Sept. 7, given that's a common opening for both Western Michigan and Ohio State.

WMU also plays at Wisconsin on Aug. 31 and at Marshall on Sept. 14 that season. In 2024, Ohio State plays host to Southern Mississippi on Aug. 31 and visits Washington on Sept. 14. The WMU game would be the Buckeyes' third and final nonconference game of 2024, now that the Big Ten plays a nine-game conference schedule.

In the current AP poll, Cincinnati is ranked fifth and Ohio State is ranked seventh.

The WMU-Ohio State meeting will be the second overall, the Buckeyes winning, 38-12, in Columbus in 2015.

Western Michigan is also looking to secure additional dates at Michigan, with the next possibly targeted for 2026. The teams opened the 2021 season against each other, the Wolverines winning, 47-14.

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tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984