In a recent development, the Washington State Supreme Court chose not to review a legal challenge related to the control of the Pac-12 Athletic Conference.
This decision upholds a lower court order granting control of the conference to Washington State University (WSU) and Oregon State University (OSU).
Despite emergency motions filed by the University of Washington and nine other Pac-12 schools to maintain their board membership and voting rights after announcing plans to leave the conference next year, the high court declined to consider them.
In response, WSU President Kirk Schulz and OSU President Jayathi Murthy expressed satisfaction with the court’s decision.
They released a joint statement expressing their commitment to working on the conference’s future to benefit student-athletes and their university communities.
In the court’s order, Chief Justice Steven C. Gonzalez mentioned that a majority of justices decided against reviewing the emergency motions. The order also reinstated a preliminary injunction, granting voting rights exclusively to Schulz and Murthy on the conference’s board of directors. This injunction, issued on Nov. 14 by Whitman County Superior Court Judge Gary Libey, was requested by WSU and OSU.
The legal dispute revolves around the departure of some Pac-12 schools and their right to control operations, address liabilities, and distribute significant assets. The timing of a member school’s formal notice of withdrawal from the conference, without invoking penalties, is a key point of contention.
Notably, WSU and OSU have a pending lawsuit against the Pac-12 and commissioner George Kliavkoff. The lawsuit alleges that the departing schools forfeited their right to control various aspects, and the trial date is yet to be determined.
The article also touches on the context of Pac-12 realignment, with several schools announcing plans to join other conferences.
Questions about Kliavkoff’s role in the realignment process and media package negotiations are raised, adding complexity to the situation.
As the legal challenges unfold, the future of the Pac-12 Conference and its impact on each school’s athletic programs, including finances, staffing, and recruiting, remains uncertain.
Despite the ongoing legal battles, WSU and OSU have scheduled football games and expressed commitment to athletic traditions, such as the Apple Cup football rivalry with the University of Washington.