Washington Supreme Court blocks previous ruling that gave Oregon State, Washington State control over Pac-12

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The Washington Supreme Court granted the University of Washington’s motion for an emergency stay against a previous injunction that made Oregon State and Washington State the only remaining board members of the Pac-12. The temporary restraining order entered in September, which prevents the Pac-12 Board of Directors from taking any action without unanimous consent of all board members, remains in place. 

Washington filed the motion for emergency stay on Nov. 15 on behalf of the 10 departing Pac-12 schools. The case will go to full review by Dec. 12. 

“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 10 departing schools said in a joint statement. “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.”

The preliminary injunction, which was issued by the Whitman County Superior Court in November, essentially gave Washington State and Oregon State complete control of the Pac-12. It gave the two schools control of Pac-12 revenue, which could approach as much as $500 million. Though they still would have had a fiduciary responsibility to the departing members, Oregon State and Washington State were given the ability to set the league’s agenda and the potential to use existing assets to potentially help secure the league’s future — one way or another. 

The supreme court’s decision comes as reports indicate that Oregon State and Washington State are set to enter a scheduling agreement with the Mountain West Conference for the 2024 season. Under the model, MWC teams will play seven league games plus one of either Oregon State or Washington State — adding six games to both OSU and WSU’s schedules. In return, the Pac-2 schools will pay the MWC around $14 million. 

 

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