Oregon State and Washington State regained control of the Pac-12’s board of directors and conference assets on Friday following a decision by the Washington Supreme Court.
The court declined to hear the appeal from the University of Washington and the Pac-12, and then lifted the temporary stay that weeks ago had stayed the original decision the Whitman County (Wash.) Superior Court issued last month to give the two schools control. Conference.
The Supreme Court’s decision means OSU and WSU once again have control of the league, until trial or depending on a settlement between the two sides.
“We are pleased with the Washington Supreme Court’s decision today,” OSU President Jayathi Murthy and OSU President Kirk Schultz said in a joint statement. “We look forward to continuing our work to chart a path forward for the conference in the best interest of our student-athletes and broader university communities.”
When the moratorium was put in place, the Pac-12 Board of Directors could only make decisions by unanimous consent. OSU and WSU’s football scheduling agreement with the Mountain West received unanimous approval, but last week, the two schools blocked the planned distribution of millions of dollars to all member schools. OSU and WSU said in a joint statement earlier this week that they cannot allow departing schools to receive conference money on their way out the door, especially without a plan for potential liabilities from various lawsuits in the future.
The 10 departing schools expressed concern that OSU and WSU could withhold all 2023-24 conference revenue while still part of the league, adding that OSU and WSU are welcome to retain all future revenue and assets after they leave next summer.
OSU and WSU’s original case argued that the 10 departing members had lost their rights to join the board and make conference decisions when they announced their intent to join the Big Ten, Big 12 or ACC. They also expressed concern that the 10 schools withdrawing might vote to dissolve the conference and divide the assets.
Now, OSU and WSU once again have the authority to make conference decisions on their own, although the judge in the lower court’s original ruling said OSU and WSU still must deal with the 10 departing schools in a “fair and open manner.”
(Photo: Kirby Lee/USA Today)
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