Dec 19, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; The Pac-12 Confernce logo on the court at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As the end of the current iteration of the Pac-12 approaches, both the conference and its departing schools are getting their affairs in order.

On Thursday, the two sides took a significant step forward, reaching a settlement to end their pending litigation over who should control the conference’s assets.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement in principle that ends litigation,” a joint statement from all 12 of the conference’s current schools reads.

The Pac-12’s two remaining schools, Washington State and Oregon State, first brought forth the litigation after the conference’s other 10 schools announced their intentions to depart for other conferences following the current academic year. In a separate statement, WSU and OSU’s presidents announced that their respective schools will control the league’s assets moving forward and that the 10 departing schools have agreed to forfeit a portion of their distributions for their remaining time in the Pac-12.

The statement released by Oregon State president Jayathi Murthy and Washington State president Kirk Schulz reads:

“In September, as the two remaining members of the Pac-12 Conference, Oregon State University and Washington State University were forced to act swiftly to protect the future viability of the Pac-12. Thanks to the determination and strength of Beaver Nation and Cougar Nation and the excellence of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, we are now closer to achieving our goal.

Today’s news marks a huge victory for our universities and a significant step toward stabilizing the Pac-12 Conference and preserving its 108-year legacy. The departing schools have agreed to forfeit a portion of distributions over the remainder of the 2023-2024 year and provide specific guarantees against potential future liabilities. The conference retains its assets and all future revenues. This agreement ensures that the future of the Pac-12 will be decided by the schools that are staying, not those that are leaving. We look forward to what the future holds for our universities, our student-athletes, the Pac-12 Conference and millions of fans.”

Meanwhile a joint statement from the 10 departing schools reads:

“We have reached an agreement that provides support for all of our student-athletes and our ability to vote on how money earned this year by all 12 schools is allocated. This agreement allows OSU and WSU to maintain control of the hundreds of millions of dollars coming into the conference in future years, as we have always maintained they would, while calling for the vast majority of funds earned in 2023-24 to be distributed equally among the 12 members.  We will take time in the coming days to work out the final details. For now, we are grateful to resolve this dispute and look forward to competing against each other over the next several months in the Pac-12.”

As for the future of the Pac-12, Oregon State and Washington State will move forward with a football scheduling partnership (and potential merger) with the Mountain West and as affiliate members of the West Coast Conference in other sports, including men’s and women’s basketball. Thanks to an NCAA grace period, the Pac-12 can still exist as a two-team conference for at least the next two years but will need to rebuild to at least eight teams by the end of the 2025-26 academic year.

[Washington State, CBS Sports]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.