Oregon State and Washington State earned a legal victory on Tuesday that gives them control of what remains of the Pac-12 Conference.
Whitman County (Wash.) Superior Court Judge Gary Libey granted the schools’ request for a preliminary injunction that strips representatives of the conference’s other 10 schools — all of whom are leaving for other conferences next season — of votes on the Pac-12 board.
Libey said he made his ruling, after a 2 1/2-hour hearing, based on the fact that Oregon State and Washington State could experience “irreparable harm” if the exiting universities would remain in control of the Pac-12’s assets.
“Voting will be by the remaining two board members, but this is not a shutout,” Libey said, according to The Athletic. “The preliminary injunction will be modified or whatever you want to call it to make sure that the other 10 schools are still treated in a fair, open manner. Nobody is going to take advantage of somebody else. If that starts to happen, I’ll either hear about it here or somebody down the street will. I do not believe that the two plaintiffs here, the two members of the board that are left, will do anything directly to harm the other 10 members.”
Washington State president Kirk Schulz and athletic director Pat Chun said in a joint statement, in part, “It has always been our view that the future of the Pac-12 should be determined by the remaining members, not by those schools that are leaving the conference.”
Oregon State president Jayathi Murthy and athletic director Scott Barnes added in a statement, “We look forward to charting a path forward for the Pac-12 that is in the best interest of the Conference and student-athletes. Our intentions are to make reasonable business decisions going forward while continuing to seek collaboration and consultation with the departing universities.”
The schools departing the Pac-12 — Washington, Oregon, Cal, Stanford, Arizona State, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Southern California and UCLA — responded in a statement: “We are disappointed with the decision and are immediately seeking review in the Washington Supreme Court and requesting to put on hold implementation of this decision. As members of the Pac-12, participating in ongoing and scheduled competitions, we are members of the board under the Pac-12 bylaws.
“We have the right to the revenue earned by our schools during the 2023-2024 academic year, which is necessary in order to operate our athletics programs and to provide mental and physical health services, academic support, and other support programs for our student-athletes.”
According to CBS Sports, Oregon State and Washington State plan to compete as a two-team football league next year, though the two schools have contacted representatives of the Mountain West Conference, Sun Belt Conference, American Athletic Conference, Conference USA and Mid-American Conference as they seek games for 2024.
–Field Level Media
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