The 2003-05 migration of three universities from the Big East Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference prompted several remaining Big East schools to sue the departing schools, alleging the departure constituted a breach of the fiduciary duties the university officials owed to the Big East Conference. This Note examines potential breach of fiduciary duty claims in the context of athletic conference migration, and explores how conflicts of interest can arise in such situations because university representatives owe fiduciary duties both to their own universities and to the conference. This Note first contends that, absent clear evidence of intent to harm a conference and its members, breachof- duty claims against university officials following athletic conference departures should be viewed with skepticism. In such 'situations, university representatives should be considered university officials first, and conference board members second, since conference memberships are only a part of the job of being a university official. This Note also argues that any damages from departure sustained by the remaining schools should be subsumed into withdrawal fees contractually established within conference constitutions, thus allowing universities to resolve conference conflicts quickly and without resort to the court system.
Gregg L. Katz, Conflicting Fiduciary Duties Within Collegiate Athletic Conferences: A Prescription for Leniency, 47 B.C.L. Rev. 345 (2006), https://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol47/iss2/3