Aztecs are looking for opponents to open the 2023 football season

Wanted: Home opponents to open the 2023 college football season. Centrally located, state-of-the-art facility. Might be warm (even hot). Visitor guarantee payment negotiable. Check with the San Diego State Athletic Department.

The San Diego State soccer team needs an opponent for the 2023 season opener after New Mexico State canceled a scheduled inter-school game.

The contract, signed by the schools in 2018, provides for a $1.5 million penalty if either party quits.

SDSU is eager to get the fine to get another opponent to come to town.

Whether the state of New Mexico, with a financially troubled sports department, will contest the payment remains to be seen.

SDSU and New Mexico State were scheduled to play at Snapdragon Stadium on September 2, but the Aggies dropped the game while navigating independently to member of Conference USA.

SDSU officials have been working over the past few weeks and months to allow some flexibility in scheduling while finding a replacement to fill out the Aztecs’ 12-game schedule.

“When the state of New Mexico joined Conference USA, we were told that they wanted to cancel our scheduled game for September 2,” said John David Wicker, SDSU athletic director. “Luckily, we were able to move the state of Idaho to that date and are on the verge of finalizing another home opponent for our opening game on August 26.”

SDSU is expected to replace the state of New Mexico with another Group of Five school.

The Aztecs’ four nonconference opponents each season (they play eight Mountain West games) typically consist of two Power 5 teams, a Group of Five team, and an FCS team.

SDSU already has Pac-12 opponents UCLA (home, Sept. 9) and Oregon State (away, Sept. 16) in addition to contesting Idaho State, an FCS team that competes in the Big Sky Conference.

New Mexico State has played as an independent club for the past five years, having left the Sun Belt after the 2017 season. The Aggies announced in November 2021 that they would join Conference USA in summer 2023.

However, in adjusting to an eight-game C-USA schedule, the Aggies were overbooked. NMSU had to scrap two non-conference games from the schedule.

Although the New Mexico state website still listed SDSU as its September 2 opponent in the future plans, New Mexico state assistant director of media relations Jon Opiela confirmed that the state of San Diego “is not on our plan.”

C-USA released its 2023 composite football schedule Tuesday afternoon, and New Mexico State was scheduled for a non-conference home game Sept. 2 against western Illinois.

SDSU and New Mexico State signed a deal for a home-and-home series in April 2018. The Aztecs defeated New Mexico State 31-10 in the 2019 game at Las Cruces, with a return game scheduled for 2023.

As a home game series, the host did not owe the visitor a match guarantee.

Notable, however, was Clause #9 in the contract, which stated: “This contract may be terminated in the event of fire, flood, earthquake, war, hostilities and/or rebellion; confiscation by government, military or public order; prohibitory or injunctive orders from any competent judicial or other governmental agency, civil or military; and/or other circumstances beyond the control of either party that make it impossible to play the game on the host party’s side of the game.”

But it also states: “If either party cancels the event for any other reason, the party that so cancels the event or does not show up shall be liable to pay a $1,500,000 (one million, five hundred hundred thousand dollar) penalty to the other.” party. The obligation of the canceling party is limited to the payment specified herein.”

The penalty is due within 30 days of notice of termination or upon the occurrence of breach of contract, whichever is earlier under the contract.

“They are still working on the takeover, but nothing has been officially decided yet,” Opiela said on Tuesday afternoon.

Questions were referred to the New Mexico State Human Resources Department as to whether the State of New Mexico is attempting to reduce the buyout amount.

A phone message there was not answered immediately.