A legally binding contract must have an offer, acceptance, consideration, mutuality of obligation, and competency and capacity. In the case of Southwestern Massachusetts State inviting Tennessee to come to its stadium to play for $50,000, there was a distinct offer. Tennessee agreed to this offer. The consideration portion was the idea that each party would provide something of value. In this case, SMS was offering $50,000. In return Tennessee was offering its prestige as a top-caliber football team in order to attract more people to SMS.
The mutuality of obligation doctrine
The mutuality of obligation doctrine required both parties to perform obligations or the law will treat the agreement as not having either of the parties bound to perform the obligations. In this type of arrangement, it allows one party to perform at their leisure, while not relieving the other party of their obligations to perform. In the case of SMS and Tennessee, SMS arranged for the football game to happen, but Tennessee did not do anything that was obligated of them.
Regarding Competency and Capacity, a person would enter the contract with the legal capacity to be held liable for the duties they agree to. Both parties in this case were competent since they were not minors, intoxicated or mentally incapacitated.
The remedies for a breach of contract in this case would boil down to the money that was spent by SMS when it paid for Fox to cover the game, and for the expenses incurred to host the game. This monetary amount would work to compensate the team for losses incurred by the breach of contract.
The contract did not need to be in writing. Only those contracts outlined in the statute of frauds needs to be written. Since this contract was not a promise to pay a debt, a promise to marry, a promise to perform and act that cannot be performed within a year, and an agreement involving real estate, the arrangement between SMS and Tennessee didn’t need to be in writing.
If Tennessee eliminated its football program after incurring numerous NCAA violations, then the contract would have had to be in writing because it is something that Tennessee would not have been able to accomplish within a year.