First reported by Amanda Christovich of Front Office Sports, a Washington state court judge has made a new ruling in Washington State University (WSU) and Oregon State University’s (OSU) litigation against the Pac-12 conference and the University of Washington (on behalf of the nine departing schools). For now, WSU and OSU are the only voting members on the conference’s board.
WSU and OSU are fighting to prevent the outgoing schools from disbanding the conference. The two schools would like to keep the conference together and distribute the millions in exit fees the schools would retain if the Pac-12 remains.
In September, the schools filed for a temporary restraining order, which a Washington state court judge subsequently granted and prevented the conference from holding their September board meeting.
Later, WSU and OSU filed for a preliminary injunction, which was the subject of Tuesday’s hearing. The remaining Pac-12 schools have been leaning on the conference’s constitution and bylaws, which summarily state that when a member withdraws from the conference, the withdrawing member ceases to be a member of the Pac-12’s Board of Directors. As a part of their motion, WSU and OSU presented documents evidencing that the conference has previously taken voting power from departing schools.
Tuesday’s ruling gives WSU and OSU control of the board (and money) as sole voting members. However, the ruling is stayed pending the University of Washington’s appeal of the decision. Given that the National Collegiate Athletic Association is in a constant state of realignment, the ruling will likely impact how schools change conferences in the future.
Landis Barber is an attorney at Safran Law Offices in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can