Most Division 1 teams will be releasing their 2022 schedules in the coming weeks. The final challenge for most coaches will be to round out the non-conference portion of the schedule.
That task is more intriguing this year on the heels of a 2021 season in which many coaches scaled back their respective non-conference schedules due to travel restrictions during the pandemic. Many programs rely on the non-conference schedule for revenue -- or at least guaranteed appearance fees -- at the start of each season.
The University of Maine was one of the first D1 programs to officially release its 2022 schedule, and the Black Bears will be chasing a guaranteed appearance fee on the opening weekend when they will play a three-game set at LSU, a team that advanced to the College World Series last spring.
Maine coach Nick Derba scheduled LSU -- an SEC team that won a total of 38 games last season -- for multiple reasons. The first is the guaranteed money. Derba estimates that a host school like LSU typically pays the visiting non-conference opponent between $12,000 and $25,000 for the cost of a weekend visit. The money often offsets at least 80% of the travel and hotel expenses.