Pac-12 legal delay: WSU and OSU hoped to proceed quickly, but conference office slow to move

Pac-12 HQ is weeks behind in terms of sorting through legal rubble

Soon after the Pac-12 imploded on Friday, Washington State president Kirk Schulz identified the most pressing task: determining which schools had voting rights and control over the conference’s assets.

“We think there will be some clarity around governance issues in the next two weeks,” he said to the Hotline.

One month later, nothing has changed.

Stanford and California have moved to the ACC. Only Washington State and Oregon State remain, and they still lack the answers needed to move forward, whether it’s reforming the Pac-12 or joining the Mountain West.

“I’m frustrated that we haven’t gotten the information as quickly as we had hoped,” OSU athletic director Scott Barnes said last weekend to “It’s coming in slowly. We need to get that sorted out.”

The Hotline requested information from the conference office.

Why is determining the assets, liabilities, and governing control taking so long?

The Pac-12 has refused to comment.

What exactly is the procedure, and who is involved?

The Pac-12 has refused to comment.

When will there be complete clarity?

The Pac-12 has refused to comment.

This endeavor employs the same radio silence that defined the Pac-12’s messaging strategy throughout the media rights negotiations. That’s fine because the conference isn’t required to share information with the media.

However, it is necessary to assist Washington State, Oregon State, and the departing schools in any way possible. And, once again, headquarters has fallen short of expectations.

“Any well-run business should have the most up-to-date profit-and-loss statement, balance sheet, liabilities and assets within 48 hours,” an industry source said.

“At the very least, they should have had this by the end of August, knowing that Stanford and Cal were likely to leave.”

Are the finances so disorganized, and the bylaws so ambiguous, that experts are struggling to understand the critical details?

“The conference has been so poorly managed on so many levels for so long,” a source said.

Morane Kerek, the Pac-12’s chief financial officer, was hired in June but did not begin her duties until Aug. 9 — five days after the implosion.

She has been tasked with finding gold coins among the rubble despite having no knowledge of the terrain.

How valuable are the emergency reserves? Which schools have earned the most money from NCAA Tournament units so far? Is the Rose Bowl contract worth it? In terms of sponsorship? On Pac-12 Networks? And what about the risks?

However, Kerek cannot bear sole responsibility. What, if any, role does commissioner George Kliavkoff play? Are the financial officers at WSU and OSU given access to the financial records? Are their general counsels going over the bylaws?

There is also a lack of clarity in these areas.

According to the bylaws, the conference is run by the CEO Group (i.e., the university presidents):

“Except as otherwise provided by law or in the Conference Governing Documents, the Conference’s business and affairs shall be managed or directed by the CEO Group.” The Conference will be governed by the CEO Group.”

However, the composition of the board of directors is unknown in the aftermath of the mass exodus.

According to the bylaws, any school that provides a “notice of departure” forfeits its voting rights. That appears simple enough, except that the Pac-12 has not received formal departure notices from the 10 outbound members, according to a source.

Does this mean they still have voting rights? Or have their actions in public served as de facto declarations of intent?

After all, the Big 12, Big Ten, and ACC have all acknowledged the new members on social media; several schools have held press conferences to address their departures; and presidents and athletic directors have spoken out about the upcoming moves.

Do the announcements and public comments serve as legally binding notices of departure? Could a settlement be on the way?

Billable hours are unbeatable in realignment.

The Beavers and Cougars have at least two viable options:

— They could join the Mountain West in a standard expansion move next summer, similar to how Washington and Oregon are joining the Big Ten, and effectively end the Pac-12.

— They could try to save the Pac-12 brand and keep the assets. In that case, the Mountain West’s 12 schools could vote to dissolve their league, eliminating departure penalties, and join the Pac-12 as a group.

“No brand in the Group of Five has the value of the Pac-12 brand,” according to an industry source. “If you have the brand, you own history.”

The Cougars and Beavers’ brand, history, assets, and voting control are all on hold until the Pac-12 provides the critical information they requested a month ago but is only “trickling in.”

What a surprise. The conference office is not providing adequate service to its members.

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