After COVID-19, majeure clauses accounting for the possibility of a pandemic will become the norm in college football game contracts. Indeed, some contracts are already including pandemics in their lists of force majeure-triggering events. Such language has already been added to collegiate game contracts. For example, a contract signed in May 2020 for the 2025 football game between Wisconsin and Miami (Ohio) lists as force majeure-triggering events “regional or global epidemics, pandemics, quarantines, and other similar health threats (e.g.[,] coronavirus, influenza, etc.).” Scholars explain that “the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic warranted immediate revisitation of college football contracts.”
However, such language was not the norm for college football game contracts before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is certainly the case for many, if not most, of the contracts for games cancelled for the 2020 college football season, the first season after the arrival of COVID-19. It remains to be seen whether any non-Power Five schools will pursue any legal claim(s) against the Power Five schools (or their respective conferences) that cancelled their games. The author believes non-Power Five schools should pursue a legal claim because there are solid arguments that a remedy is warranted, considering that COVID-19 did not prevent the playing of the cancelled games and that certain schools that cancelled games have not mitigated injuries resulting therefrom.
St. Mary's University School of Law
Brent. A. Bauer
COVID-19 and Cancelled 2020 College Football Games Contracts: Force Majeure?,
St. Mary's L.J.
Available at: https://commons.stmarytx.edu/thestmaryslawjournal/vol53/iss4/5