The Missouri-Illinois football rivalry has been renewed. The two schools announced Thursday that they have agreed to a four-year deal to play in St. Louis beginning in 2007.
“It is heaven for us,” said Jack Croghan, director of sports and development for the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC) on Thursday.
The Tigers and Illini played to a packed dome in 2002 and 2003, but opted against renewing the rivalry past the 2003 game because the NCAA decided to eliminate the 12-game schedule. Earlier this year the NCAA approved an initiative to bump the schedule back to 12 games beginning in 2006 and the talks to rekindle the game began.
“We were obviously very in favor of (the 12-game schedule) becuase we knew that it gave us an opportunity to bring this series back to St. Louis,” said Croghan.
The game is expected to bring about $3-million to the city of St. Louis. The game will also give the two schools a nice payday. Exact figures weren’t released, but a reporter indicated that schools often get a million dollars for going to a bowl game. The reporter asked Croghan if it was worth a million to each school and Croghan indicated that it was.
The agreement will ensure an MU-Illinois game through 2010, and there is a two-year extension available, which must be enacted after the 2008 game.
Before the 2002-2003 agreement, the two schools met in St. Louis just one other time—-The Tigers topped the Illini 37-6 in 1969. The two teams have met a total of 20 times, with Mizzou leading the series 13-7.