Vague language in football contract with IU may not bring results

Don’t expect the football contract dispute between Central Michigan University and Indiana University to make much headway in the near future.

Both sides have taken their stance and are affirming it – and vague language in the contract isn’t helping matters either.

According to the contract signed on Jan. 27, 2007, by both schools and obtained by Central Michigan Life last week, “If either party breaches this contract, the party causing the breach shall pay to the other party a liquidated sum of $150,000 for games #1 and #2, and $200,000 for game #3, which shall represent liquidated damages to the, non-breaching damaged party.”

IU Athletics Director Fred Glass told Central Michigan Life last week that changes to the Hoosiers’ schedule forced the change and breach of the second game of the series. Indiana moved its scheduled Nov. 20 home game against Penn State to Landover, Md., creating the need for a seventh home game.

Glass said the lawyers called it ‘economic breach’ and that the economics of it were such that IU felt it had to breach the second game, scheduled for Sept. 11 in Mount Pleasant. IU agreed to pay CMU $150,000 for liquidated damages.

“We found ourselves in need of another home game and one of my then-senior associate athletic directors was working on that,” Glass said. “He had negotiations with (CMU), and I understood it to be an easy matter to flip the games. Instead of playing (CMU) there, we’d play at home and then we’d come back and play up there (in Mount Pleasant).”

CMU Athletics Director Dave Heeke holds firm that by breaching the second game, IU breached the entire contract and owes CMU the liquidated damages from Games 2 and 3.

“The contract has per-game buyouts and the contention is that once you breach one of those games you breach the entire contract,” Heeke told CM Life on July 1. “There were two games left on the contract, those two games equaled $350,000.”

Glass disagreed last week, calling it “frankly silly,” and said CMU owes IU $50,000 for canceling the third game out of retribution.

“If ‘you breach one, you breach them all,’ then why are there independent liquidated damages set out for different amounts for different games?,” Glass said.

According to the contract, compensation amounts for Games 2 and 3 were both $150,000. However, liquidated damages were $150,000 for Game 2 and $200,000 for Game 3.

The contract could be terminated one of two ways – through mutual consent by both parties in writing or if either party dropped NCAA participation in football.

There was also a clause voiding the agreement with respect to an unforeseen catastrophe or disaster. In regards to canceling any games due to such events, “No such cancellation shall effect the parties’ obligations as to subsequent games covered by this contract, unless signed to by mutual consent.”

Such language does not appear anywhere else in the contract, nor does any other language relating to contract breaches and liquidated damages.

Heeke declined a follow up interview.

Follow CM Life Sports on Twitter @CMLifeSports.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in Central Michigan Life.