Washington State and Oregon State filed a legal complaint Friday to solidify their roles as the only voting board members remaining in the collapsing Pac-12 Conference.
With 10 schools within the Pac-12 set to leave the conference at the end of the current academic year, Washington State and Oregon State intend to clarify their roles in, among other things, the distribution of the conference’s assets.
In a filing in Whitman County (Washington) Superior Court, where Washington State is located, both Washington and Oregon State seek a temporary restraining order to define who now sits on the board of directors.
According to the Pac-12 bylaws, any institution that withdraws from the conference prior to Aug. 1, 2024 is no longer allowed to be a member on the board of directors. That would prevent such institutions from voting on matters of importance within the conference.
At issue is a Sept. 12 meeting called by Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff, where board members from all 12 schools were invited, including the 10 that are set to depart. The exodus began in June 2022 when Southern California and UCLA elected to depart to the Big Ten Conference starting with the 2024-25 school year.
When USC and UCLA left, neither institution was able to take a seat on the board of directors. When Colorado announced a move in July to the Big 12, the school also was not allowed to participate in board meetings. Since then, seven more schools have elected to depart.
If the conference is disbanded permanently, assets from the Pac-12 Network, the College Football Playoff in January, the men’s basketball tournament at Las Vegas in March and the Pac-12 brand itself all come into question.
There has been no decision on whether the Pac-12 will cease to exist, or if Washington State and Oregon State will remain in a conference that will need to be reconstructed.
The legal filing by Washington State and Oregon State does not request a halt on the 10 institutions leaving to new conferences. Its primary goal is to define what schools can now sit on the Pac 12 board and hold a vote.
–Field Level Media