COLUMBUS — The cancellation of the college football season won’t just result in massive revenue losses for athletic departments.
It could spark court cases across the country, pitting the sport’s blue bloods against relative lightweights, arguing the specifics of force majeure clauses in game contracts. At least that’s what one former high-ranking Power Five administrator and an attorney with experience in college athletics believe, telling The Blade that they think a litigation collision course is inevitable if the coronavirus pandemic wipes out nonconference games.
“General counsels all over the country are looking at these contracts,” said Bowling Green State University senior associate athletic director Kit Hughes. “Everybody is looking down the barrel of these guarantee games and the potential that there could be some cancellations.
“But what does that actually mean? Certainly nobody has COVID-19 listed in a force majeure clause, and something as specific as a global pandemic wouldn’t be mentioned. I think everybody is looking at those things. We, like [Ohio State], would take the lead from our general counsel’s office.”
One current athletic director thinks there will be a high level of cooperation between schools, resulting in agreements that benefit everyone.