Washington State University and Oregon State University are taking the Pac-12 Conference to court.
You can get fuller details from Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News and the Wilner Hotline, in a story which is behind a paywall. A subscription is required to view the link.
We will share details from the article and explain why this is happening, but it’s the latest drama for a Pac-12 conference which never should have been in this position. Had the conference stayed together and taken last year’s ESPN deal (for $30 million per school, easily enough to keep members satisfied), we would not be having this conversation. More urgently, WSU and OSU would not have taken the Pac-12 to court.
Here’s what you need to know about this situation:
Jon Wilner lays out what’s happening here:
“The presidents of Washington State and Oregon State are taking the Pac-12 to court in order to gain clarity on voting rights and control of assets as the collapse of a century-old college sports institution veers toward an internecine feud.
“The only remaining members of the Pac-12 as of next summer, WSU and OSU filed a joint complaint Friday in Whitman County (Washington) Superior Court that seeks to determine the makeup of the Pac-12 board of directors following the announced departures of 10 schools, according to documents obtained by the Hotline.”
Let’s give you various details about the lawsuit and what it means. Let’s start with this: Both the Pac-12 and Commissioner George Kliavkoff have been named as defendants in the case.
DON'T WORRY, OTHERS
This is a key point: This legal complaint isn’t an attempt to punish all of the outgoing programs. It is more an attempt by Washington State and Oregon State to gain control of the Pac-12 Board of Directors and shape who votes and who doesn’t. The other schools aren’t being asked to pay some kind of exit or penalty fee. Washington State and Oregon State merely want to control what is left of the Pac-12 (aka, the Pac-2 or 2-Pac).
MOUNTAIN WEST QUESTIONS
The Pac-12 and MWC have discussed a merger, but it would greatly affect Washington State and Oregon State. How the parties do this is important. What Washington State and Oregon State would like to do is have a process in which the Pac-12 isn’t dissolved. This would be huge on two different levels:
First, if the Pac-12 dissolves (officially dies), remaining assets are split among the 12 schools, including USC and UCLA. If the Pac-12 stays intact as a legal entity, Oregon State and Washington State could conceivably be in a position to claim the assets for themselves, or at least be in a position where they can claim most of them before inviting Mountain West schools into the conference in a new collection of institutions.
Second, if the Pac-12 does not dissolve, WSU and OSU would be in a position to retain College Football Playoff, bowl game, and NCAA Tournament distributions of funds.
You can see why this legal battle over control of the board — and what each school is entitled to — is necessary for Washington State and Oregon State.
That’s the endgame for WSU and OSU here. If the Cougars and Beavers can do this, they might not endure a financial bloodbath after all.
SEPTEMBER 13 BOARD MEETING
There is a board meeting scheduled, and the WSU-OSU combo hopes to have the final say in what will happen. We will see what the courts have to say about this.
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) September 8, 2023
LOTS OF PLOT TWISTS AHEAD
WSU’s president hinted at it earlier in the week and now official.
Buckle up Beaver Nation, this is going to be a long ride for whenever this gets sorted out. https://t.co/JH4dxfZ9I6
— Ryan Harlan (@Ryan_Harlan7) September 8, 2023
Yeesh. As if the conference office didn’t already handle things badly, now this. https://t.co/Aksnk1E2aQ
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) September 8, 2023
CONTROL OF PAC-12 FINANCES
WSU and OSU “want declaratory judgment from the court regarding the makeup of the Pac-12’s board of directors, which has voting authority and control of the conference’s finances.”
“Additionally, the schools are seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the 10 outgoing… https://t.co/U6SirArClO
— That’s Another Cougar Podcast (@WSUCougsPodcast) September 8, 2023
PRECEDENT HAS BEEN SET
Rooting for WSU and OSU on this on. The way the Pac 12 automatically excluded USC and UCLA as of last summer from board meetings seem to indicate they are in the right and, in effect, they are the only two schools who should have board seats at this point. https://t.co/NW9TS9dP3U
— Michael Wolf (@michaelwolf) September 8, 2023
Probably better for ASU if the conference dissolves and we get a share of the assets.
Still — and I can’t believe Im saying this — I’m rooting for Washington State and Oregon State. https://t.co/0U1hJsYIZ8
— Tim Agne (@timagne) September 8, 2023
Once again: If the Pac-12 dissolves, Arizona State and the other Four Corners schools which went to the Big 12 would get some of the Pac-12’s assets. If the Pac-12 stays intact, they don’t, and Washington State and Oregon State would get a lot more control over those assets.
THE CEO GROUP IS WORSE THAN BOTH
Didn't think it was possible but George Kliavkoff has easily surpassed Larry Scott in terms of ineptitude. Sue him into oblivion. https://t.co/dnwCPNQsJ2
— Adam Lewis (@AdamLewisPI) September 8, 2023
Necessary legal step but still a sad and ugly situation https://t.co/q07S2Vrs6J
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) September 8, 2023
PEOPLE ARE ROOTING FOR WAZZU AND OSU
Seems pretty clear to me, if the 10 schools want to leave fine. But they shouldn’t also get to have a voice in the conference’s future. Gotta say I’m rooting for the Cougs and Beavs in this one. #GoHuskies https://t.co/9S3SIIBIh7
— Kenny Via (@kenny_via) September 8, 2023