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By MATTHEW STEVENS
Mississippi State is now searching to fill the final non-conference slot in its 2012 football schedule.
Mississippi State athletics director Scott Stricklin confirmed Tuesday that Louisiana Tech paid the MSU athletic department $300,000 â€śthis past springâ€ť to buy its way out of the scheduled game in Starkville.
Louisiana Tech will come to Davis Wade Stadium on Sept. 24, 2011 to play MSU and will have a two-for-one series where Mississippi State hosts the school from the Western Athletic Conference in 2015 and 2017. MSU will travel to Ruston, La., for a contest in 2016.
The last time the two schools met was a 22-14 victory by Louisiana Tech in 2008 but MSU still leads the all-time series 7-2.
Louisiana Tech officials claimed in a statement released through their athletic department that there was numerous reasons for the move starting with a conflict over the date of the 2012 game with the Southeastern Conference television partners.
"Number one was that Mississippi State asked us to move the game to a later date in 2012 due to a request from the SEC involving television scheduling not for this particular game,â€ť Louisiana Tech athletic director Bruce Van De Velde said in the statement. â€śWe could not fulfill this request so we asked to move the game to a later year and Mississippi State declined. At that point, we elected not to play the game. This also allowed us to schedule a sixth home game in 2012."
Louisiana Techâ€™s non-conference opponents in 2012 are now Lamar, at Houston, Rice, at Illinois, at Virginia and UNLV.
This move leaves Mississippi State with four years of future non-conference slates with one slot open but the dates from 2014-16 are likely to be filled by Football Championship Subdivision opponents, formerly referred to as Division I-AA.
Stricklin went on Twitter Tuesday to discuss the 2012 schedule when asked by a fan about the situation responding to a question saying â€śJackson St., S. Alabama, at Troy. Looking for 1 more hm game.â€ť
However, Stricklin has consisted said MSU fans shouldnâ€™t expect an opponent to be filled by a school from a Bowl Championship Series conference.
Stricklin, who traveled this week to the annual College Sports Information Directors of America convention in Marco Island, Fla., this week, responded to a different fan on Twitter Tuesday when asked about a potential high profile opponent saying this â€śGreat idea ... Let's do it every December/Januaryâ€ť
This scheduling philosophy is similar to what Stricklin said when he took over the athletics director position and followed through with in future scheduling contracts.
â€śMy hope is we play a really good high-profile non-conference opponent every December or January (in a bowl game)," Stricklin said in May 2010. "I want to schedule in a way that allows us the opportunity to do that.â€ť