Pac-12 legal affairs: In latest filing, 10 departing schools suggest WSU, OSU want 2023-24 revenue for themselves

On Thursday, Washington filed a motion to oppose a preliminary injunction.

The Pac-12’s ten outgoing members, through Washington, filed a motion on Thursday opposing the push by Washington State and Oregon State to secure a preliminary injunction that would give the two remaining schools control of the conference.

WSU and OSU believe that by accepting offers from other leagues, the ten outbound schools have relinquished their seats on the governing board, leaving the Cougars and Beavers as the only voting members and in control of the assets.

The departing schools are battling for their seats. They argued in the most recent filing in Whitman County (Washington) Superior Court that WSU and OSU intend to use Pac-12 revenue generated during the current sports year to fund their future plans:

“If they seize sole control of the Board, they will have control over all 12 member schools’ revenue.” They have stated publicly that they are looking to add schools from other conferences, which would necessitate the Pac-12 paying them tens of millions of dollars in exit fees.

“Allowing them to do so with current-year revenues, which Conference members agreed would be distributed evenly to all 12 institutions long ago, is not the status quo.”

“Whatever OSU and WSU decide to do with money earned after August 1, 2024, it is fundamentally inequitable to allow them to take current year revenues and — in the words of the Conference — ‘confiscate such revenues and assets in contravention of all members’ rights to and interest in them.'”

The Pac-12 expects “more than $100 million in revenue in each of the two years following the ten schools’ departure,” referring to the fiscal years 2025 and 2026.

It does not break down the revenue streams, but it is estimated that the Rose Bowl contract, College Football Playoff distributions, and NCAA Tournament units are worth tens of millions of dollars per year.

Washington’s motion to oppose is the most recent development in the ongoing legal battle, which began in September. The preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for November 14. Furthermore, the two parties have entered into mediation.

The motion requests that the preliminary injunction be denied, or that if granted, the order be stayed to maintain the status quo while the University of Washington takes these issues to the Washington Supreme Court.

“At a minimum, any preliminary injunction should build in protections for UW and the other schools so that Plaintiffs’ effort to disrupt the status quo cannot be used to deprive 10 other schools of their rights during their remaining term as Conference members.”

The motion contends that the ten departing schools did not violate the section of the bylaws that defines the withdrawal process from the conference.

OSU and WSU believe that sworn statements by commissioner George Kliavkoff, as well as actions taken by the conference prior to Aug. 4, demonstrate that schools were systematically removed from the board after publicly announcing their intentions to join other leagues.

The motion also includes previously unseen details about OSU and WSU’s efforts to secure a future in the Power Five:

— “On July 30, (Oregon State) President Murthy spoke with University of Virginia’s president about potentially joining the ACC.”

— “In a private message discovered on August 5, WSU President Kirk Schulz proposed to President Murthy.”

and Stanford and Cal leaders that all four schools could join the Big 12.” (Eventually, the Bay Area schools joined the ACC.)

— “The text messages between President Murthy and AD Barnes reveal that OSU was still pursuing membership in the Big 12 in late August 2023 and early September.”

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