Will Mountain West Teams Still Get Paid For Cancelled Games vs. Power 5 Schools?
Finances are in trouble.
How will contracts get sorted out?
The Pac-12 and Big Ten have wiped away 15 Mountain West games and a lot of those are buy games which means the Power 5 leagues pay about seven figures to bring in a Group of Five team for what is usually considered a gimme win.
Those games help to fund athletic programs so losing them is a big deal. Plus, there is the opportunity to knock off a Power 5 team.
The big question is what happens with these deals. The term force majeure has come up quite a lot and basically is a way out of a contract due to an unforeseen event, such as the pandemic that is being caused by COVID-19.
Air Force athletics director Nathan Pine is looking into it lost game vs. Purdue as the Big Ten dropped its out of league games.
“The Air Force Academy is disappointed that our football team will not have the opportunity to play at Purdue this season, in light of today’s Big Ten announcement,” Pine said in a statement. “It’s too early to speculate but we will review our options with Purdue on a resolution of the contract and will concurrently evaluate our options with the opening created on our 2020 schedule.”
Reviewing the situation is the right thing to do. The options for the Falcons could be to sue Purdue and/or the Big Ten over canceling the game but that could put a huge sour taste in the mouths of not only those two parties but any other Power 5 team in the future. It is a delicate balance in trying to work through what happened.
However, not all contracts have the force majeure clause in there so this is a sort of case-by-case situation. It would make a lot of sense for the two parties to work things out and try to play another game over suing for some or all of what was offered.
Then there is the idea that if conferences are able to play within its own league then maybe that does not fall under force majeure for those non-conference games.
That is a very valid question because why can you play games against certain teams and not others. The argument will be that conferences can have their own set of standards compared to other leagues which is probably what be argued if there are any lawsuits.
Going to the courts just seems like the wrong way to go even though these Mountain West and other Group of 5 teams. They want to play each other still and going after money could hurt that scheduling.
Odds are that there will be some money that exchanges hands or perhaps a home and home to allow for a possible sell-out game at home which will bring in a lot of money and possibly more than the buy game.
However, the biggest issue is getting the money now and not years down the road and that will be the biggest issue for these schools that heavily rely on these one-and-done games.