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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Oregon State And Washington State Take the Pac-12 To Court

  • On Friday, Oregon State and Washington State filed a lawsuit against the Pac-12 and commissioner George Kliavkoff.
  • They're asking for a state court to affirm they have control of the conference after the latest round of realignment. 
Pac-12
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, lone Pac-12 members Oregon State and Washington State filed a lawsuit against the conference and commissioner George Kliavkoff asking for a court to affirm they have control of the conference after the latest round of realignment. 

“WSU and OSU are working in lockstep to identify the best path forward,” Washington State president Kirk Schulz said in a statement. “The future of the Pac-12 must be determined by the remaining members, not by those who are leaving.”

The Mercury News first reported the lawsuit. 

As of now, Washington State and Oregon State will be the Pac-12’s only members come 2024. The schools noted in a release that Pac-12 bylaws state that any future departing members immediately cease voting power on the Pac-12’s Board of Directors — suggesting that Oregon State and Washington State would assume immediate control over the conference.

The lawsuit claims Kliavkoff has ignored that rule, calling a board meeting for Sept. 13 that includes representatives from departing schools. To “circumvent” the rule, according to court documents, Kliavkoff called it a meeting of “CEOs” rather than a meeting of the “Pac-12 Board of Directors.”

As a result, Washington State and Oregon State are asking the court to prohibit Kliavkoff from holding any board meetings with departing members, or allowing them to make decisions about the conference.

“The ten departing members have a significant financial incentive to dissolve the Pac-12 before their departures,” the schools said in court documents. “If the Pac-12 Conference dissolved, its remaining assets and property would be distributed to all twelve members of the Conference.”

Oregon State and Washington State are trying to retain sole access to the conference’s money, from future NCAA distributions and emergency fund to The Pac-12 Networks. Not including the Pac-12 Networks, the conference had $43 million in net total assets last year, and brought in $581 million in revenue, according to court documents. The networks themselves raked in $117 million in revenue, and had $77 million in operating expenses.

(The schools could, however, assume certain liabilities like legal fees for lawsuits against the conference or money the Pac-12 owes Comcast.)

Oregon and Washington are desperate for clarity as they consider their next options: rebuilding the existing Pac-12 or defecting to the Mountain West (and potentially taking the Pac-12 name with them.)

The Pac-12 declined to comment.

Editor’s Note: This story will be updated.

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