The Washington Supreme Court sided with the departing members of the Pac-12 on Tuesday, granting an emergency stay that, at least for now, thwarts an attempt by the remaining members — Oregon State and Washington State — to control the conference governing board.
At the end of this academic year, Oregon State and Washington State will be the only schools left in the conference after the other 10 jump to the Big Ten, Big 12 or Atlantic Coast Conference.
Earlier, a lower court granted an injunction that gave the two schools control of the conference and, most importantly, its income. With the stay issued Tuesday, all 12 teams still have a seat at the table.
Washington took the lead in the case on behalf of the 10 departing universities and took the case to the state Supreme Court. The group issued a statement praising the ruling.
“We are pleased that the Washington Supreme Court has put on hold the preliminary injunction that would have given OSU and WSU sole control of the Pac-12 Conference,” the joint statement said. “The decision effectively ensures that all 12 current members will have an equal voice in determining how the revenue our schools earned this year is distributed and utilized while the Court considers our arguments.
“This funding is vital to our ability to operate our athletics programs and to provide mental and physical health services, academic support, and other support programs for our student-athletes. The combined earnings of 12 schools during the 2023-2024 academic year should not be unilaterally governed by just two institutions while we all remain members of the Conference.”
Oregon State and Washington State intend to seek a review of the decision, ESPN reported. All parties were given until Dec. 12 to file motions.
“We are disappointed in the Washington Supreme Court Commissioner’s decision to temporarily allow the departing schools to have veto power over Pac-12 board matters while they appeal the superior court’s well-reasoned decision to grant Oregon State’s and Washington State’s request to govern as the Pac-12’s sole remaining members,” spokespersons for the two schools said in a joint statement.
“We did not create or seek these circumstances, but Oregon State and Washington State remain committed to taking aggressive action to protect our universities, ensure accountability and transparency, safeguard student-athletes and the Pac-12 Conference, and preserve our options moving forward.”
Controlling the conference funds would be beneficial to Oregon State and Washington State as they seek to hold on to, and rebuild, the historic conference.
–Field Level Media