GAINESVILLE — According to a source familiar with the negotiations, Florida will get $6 million to play a non-conference game out of state for the first time since 1991 when it plays Michigan in the 2017 Cowboys Classic.
“You don’t get these opportunities very often,” Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said. “Our schedule has been pretty consistent through the years. We were presented this opportunity and just thought it was something that our fans would embrace, our program would embrace.
“It would give us great national visibility. Obviously, a very difficult ballgame against a storied program — that excites us.”
The last time the Gators opened a season on the road was 1987 at Miami. The last time UF opened the schedule outside the state was in 1979 at Houston. Both were losses.
Florida and Michigan have never met in the regular season. The two have met twice in bowl games. The Wolverines beat the Gators 38-30 in the 2003 Outback Bowl and 41-35 in the 2008 Capital One Bowl.
While Florida has not played in the game before, Michigan lost 41-14 to Alabama in the 2012 Cowboys Classic.
The Gators will be the home team and Big 12 officials will be used.
Each school gets 25,000 tickets for the game at AT&T Stadium, which was built at a cost of $1.2 billion and opened in 2009. Contract details have not been made available yet.
College football’s first national title under the new playoff system is also being played there after the 2014 season concludes.
Florida likely to lose another assistant: Gators special teams coach Jeff Choate is expected to became the third assistant to leave the program after the Gators finished the season with a 4-8 record.
Choate is reportedly headed to Washington to rejoin Chris Petersen, who he worked under from 2006-11 as the special teams coach.
Coleman Hutzler is expected to replace Choate as Florida's special teams coach. He was an assistant at UF in 2010-11 before taking the special teams job at New Mexico.
With the firing of offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis, it means at least a third of the nine-man staff of assistants will be new in 2014.
There are just four remaining coaches from the original nine hired by Muschamp in 2011, when he arrived as the Gators' head coach - running backs coach Brian White, tight ends coach Derek Lewis, defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson and defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin.
The Choate move had not been officially announced by Florida or Washington as of Thursday night.