Deadspin, a website who has not been too kind (or fair) in its assessment of BYU athletics in the past, has provided some intriguing information regarding the Cougars future home-and-home date with the University of Southern Mississippi.
Through an open records request, Deadspin obtained an email from the USM Director of Athletics stating that it was his intent to cancel the Golden Eagles' series with BYU in order to find a better payout. USM will owe BYU $1M in liquidated damages should they cancel.
This is Exhibit A of the difficulty inherent in independence. The nature of contract law works against BYU, as a breach can be remedied simply through the payment of damages. No court in America would force a contract breaker to play the game. Most schools have three or four contracted games per season; BYU has 12. And all 12 can be bought out.
Most BCS schools have the funds to simply buy out a BYU game if something came up. And, as USM shows, non-AQ's are often pressured to take a better payout in order to help fund the athletic department. Scheduling is a difficult task for Tom Holmoe. Whatever he is being paid, it is not enough.
Holmoe mentioned that two schools on the 2013 slate had backed out of games. USM would not have begun playing BYU until 2014, so it looks like there are at least three games that have been or will be rescheduled on short notice.
Deadspin provided the three-page contract between BYU and USM. It's fascinating.