Leaving Pac-12 schools oppose OSU, WSU filing
Kyle Bonagura, ESPN Personnel WriterNov 2, 2023, 07:07 PM ET
- Covers the Pac-12.
- Joined ESPN in 2014.
- Participated In Washington State University.In the ongoing legal battle
for control of the Pac-12, the 10 leaving universities revealed issue that if Oregon State and Washington State were to acquire total control of the conference board, they might attempt to withhold revenue circulation from the 2023-24 academic year from the departing members.The schools made their thoughts understood in a filing on Thursday opposing a motion for preliminary injunction.On Sept. 9, WSU and OSU filed a problem for breach of bylaws in Whitman County Superior Court and sought an emergency short-lived restraining order to protect what the schools viewed as an “imminent and existential danger”to the future of the conference. The TRO request was granted Sept. 27, which avoided any board meetings to be called.Washington, on behalf of the nine other departing schools– Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA
, USC and Utah– signed up with the lawsuit as an intervening celebration Oct. 16. Editor’s Picks 2 Related A joint statement from the leaving 10 schools, in part, stated:”Approving OSU and WSU unilateral authority over numerous millions of dollars in 2023-2024
revenue needed this year to run our sports programs would harm our universities, including our ability to provide critical resources and chances for our student-athletes.”The original lawsuit came, in part, due to OSU’s and WSU’s worry that if provided the right to vote in a board setting, the leaving schools could successfully decide to shutter the conference and divided
the staying properties, restricting OSU and WSU’s choices for how to move forward.In the current filing, the leaving schools insinuated there were no strategies to do that.”The method to please that duty [of commitment to the Pac-12] is to recuse from choices that, unlike those involving withholding 2023-2024 earnings circulations, effect just the post-August 1, 2024, future of the Conference,”the filing said.”UW has actually currently assured the Conference that it would not seek to vote on particular matters affecting only the Plaintiffs, such as future media rights arrangements and new Conference member considerations.”If the court grants OSU’s and WSU’s ask for preliminary injunction, UW asked for the TRO be extended in order to look for an evaluation in Washington Supreme Court and to avoid OSU, WSU and the Pac-12 from using 2023-24 profits for purposes that do not benefit the 12 existing members. Specifically, UW asked funds not be used to schedule games with nonconference opponents or be utilized to add new conference members.” Today’s filing is yet another effort by the leaving schools to disregard conference Bylaws and prevent OSU and WSU from exercising their right to govern the future of the Pac-12, “OSU spokesperson Rob Odom and WSU spokesperson Phil Weiler said in a statement.” It is frustrating that the leaving schools are directly reversing their prior interpretation of the Bylaws in an effort to take control of the Pac-12, a conference to which they no longer have any loyalty. We did not develop or look for these situations, but OSU and WSU will continue to take whatever actions are required to safeguard our universities, ensure accountability and transparency, protect student-athletes and the Pac-12 Conference, and protect our choices progressing.”In a joint press conference with the university presidents and athletic directors in September, the leaders stated they anticipated to have a much better sense of what remaining properties OSU and WSU would have a right to within approximately a month. Neither school has since made a public comment about what those figures have actually looked like, but the leaving
schools approximated it might be nearly$200 million.” We note that, regardless of the outcome of their claim– and even if they had not submitted it– OSU and WSU will still manage approximately $200 million in Conference income after our 10 schools depart the Conference,” the statement said.” While we recognize and respect OSU’s and WSU’s requirement to protect the best future for their organizations, we can not let their legal campaign damage our efforts on behalf of our student-athletes and university communities.”The conference is likewise known to have millions of dollars in liabilities connected to other pending lawsuits, long-lasting leases and other costs, making it difficult to approximate where things would net out.A hearing for a preliminary injunction is set for Nov. 14, at which point the court would likely identify who has voting rights on the Pac-12 board.