Can you say “force majeure”, boys and girls?

I thought you could.

The Big Ten Conference’s announcement that its schools are limiting any fall sports competition to games against conference opponents will have financial ramifications not only for Big Ten schools, but also for schools across the country – especially in the Mid-American Conference.

Big Ten football teams had been scheduled to play 33 non-conference games at home. USA TODAY Sports has been able to obtain contracts for 26 of those games – and they had been scheduled to have total payouts to the visiting teams of nearly $22.2 million. That figure includes payouts connected to single, one-off games and games that were to be parts of series.

Most of this money was headed to schools in conferences outside the Power Five – schools that could be significantly impacted by the loss of revenue…

What could become an issue, however, is whether the language of the various contracts will result in the games being canceled with no payment due, or whether the Big Ten schools will have to either make payments for canceling the games or make arrangements for a future game.

For example, Ohio State’s contracts with Buffalo and Bowling Green state: “If it becomes impossible to play the football game for reasons of power failure, strikes, severe weather conditions, riots, war, or other unforeseen catastrophes or disasters beyond the control of either party, this Agreement may be terminated by either OSU or the Visiting Team, the football game shall be cancelled, and neither party shall be responsible to the other for any loss or damage.”

It would seem that the pandemic would qualify as a disaster “beyond the control of either party,” but there potentially is room for interpretation.

Er, did you say “room for interpretation”?  We know what that means — mid-major schools may get screwed financially, but their lawyers will make out just fine.


Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness

17 responses to “Can you say “force majeure”, boys and girls?

  1. mp

    I would think it would be difficult to enforce if OSU turns around and plays all the other Big 10 teams. How does the pandemic make it impossible to play Buffalo but not Nebraska?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Derek

    Given their reliance on future engagements aren’t the chances of the little guys making too much of a stink pretty low here?


    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      I don’t know about that…so many people are convinced we’re just dealing with the flu, it’s no big deal, etc. The mid-majors can sue and settle and get something; also, the lawyers win again!


  3. And this is the meat I’ve been waiting for.


  4. Ran A

    Exactly – this is going to crush some of these smaller schools, conferences and other sports programs within those conferences.


    • Down Island Way

      And this is where the ncaa should $tep in for those universities/conferences with relief monie$ to $upport any and all future te$ting so as to have equal footing with p5 conferences (think march madness)…like that is gonna’ happen….


  5. 123fakest

    Goodbye Title IX.
    Goodbye smaller programs.
    Goodbye overpaid PE Coaches.