Game Commitment Clauses Gain Traction in Coaching Contracts

istock_000003767744small1Andy Katz of ESPN.com posted an interesting article about a growing trend in college coaching contracts – game commitment clauses.

When a coach leaves a school, that school is often compensated by way of a buyout clause, a topic that I have covered in detail.  However, some schools are now negotiating language that requires a departing coach to commit his or her new school to playing his or her former school.  Such an arrangement is clearly most attractive in the scenario where a coach jumps from a mid-major to a major program.

Although creative, a school cannot solely rely upon a game commitment clause. 

First, such a clause may not be enforceable.  A coach cannot bind his or her prospective employers, which are unknown at contract signing and have no opportunity to consent, to play his current employer. 

Second, there may be logistical concerns about the two schools playing each other, as the schools may play in different conferences, be located in different geographic regions or may be fully scheduled for a period of years. 

Accordingly, a school should insist that game commitment clause be accompanied by a financial payout if the game commitment cannot be satisfied.  And a coach should not unilaterally commit to a game commitment clause, but should insist upon language that requires him or her to make reasonable efforts to schedule a game or series, acknowledging that scheduling is dependent upon many factors beyond the coach’s control.

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  1. […] 3.  Game commitment clauses gain in popularity in collegiate coaching contracts. […]

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