The Superior Court of Washington granted a request from Oregon State and Washington State on Monday and issued a temporary emergency restraining order against the Pac-12 Conference that will prevent them from holding formal board meetings until further rulings.
The Pac-12 had scheduled a board of directors meeting with commissioner George Kliavkoff and university leaders from the ten schools who have decided to leave the conference on Wednesday. That meeting cannot happen now.
The judge did not immediately provide details about a future court date.
Judge Gary Libey rules in favor of Oregon State and Washington State granting the restraining order. Pac-12 cannot meet as a board until the court rules further.
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) September 11, 2023
OSU and WSU are the only remaining conference members who will not be joining a new conference next summer. As such, the two schools filed a complaint against the conference and Kliavkoff last week to prevent any vote related to the Pac-12’s future until there is further clarity about who controls what remains of the conference.
“We are very pleased with the court’s decision today. It has always been our view that future of the Pac-12 should be determined by the remaining members, not by those that are leaving the conference,” said Washington State president Kirk Schulz in a statement. “This position is consistent with the action the Pac-12 Board of Directors first took when the first two schools [USC and UCLA] announced their departure from the conference more than a year ago.
“We remain firmly committed to exploring all options to protect the interests of our student-athletes, coaches, and fans. We look forward to the court putting the question of governance to rest so that Washington State University and Oregon State University can make reasonable and necessary decisions regarding the future of the Pac-12 Conference.”
“I am pleased with today’s decision,” Oregon State President Jayathi Murthy said in a statement. “As the two remaining Pac- 12 members, Oregon State and Washington State must be able to chart a path forward for the Pac 12–not the members that have chosen to leave it.”
Judge Gary Libey did however amend the order to allow the Pac-12 to conduct normal business regarding urgent matters for the 2023-24 academic year before the departing members exit. While the conference will be able to act on immediate matters affecting this school year, the court will still have to decide which conference members can vote on matters related to its future.
Short-term: The 12 schools now have the judge's blessing to act on immediate matters affecting this school year.
Long-term: The court will still need to address the issue of which members can vote on matters regarding the future of the conference. Is it only Ore St and Wazzu?
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) September 11, 2023
The situation stems from a series of departures that began in June 2022 when USC and UCLA announced they were leaving for the Big Ten. Colorado then left for the Big 12 in July, clearing the way for Oregon and Washington to head to the Big Ten while Utah, Arizona, and Arizona State joined the Buffaloes in the Big 12. Cal and Stanford officially announced they’d be joining the ACC in early September.