Washington asks courts to dismiss Washington State, Oregon State lawsuit against Pac-12

Oct 9, 2023, 5:07 PM | Updated: 8:34 pm

Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. #9 of the Washington Huskies during the second half of the NCAAF game...

Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. #9 of the Washington Huskies during the second half of the NCAAF game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on September 30, 2023 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The University of Washington asked a court on Monday to dismiss the lawsuit brought against the Pac-12 by Oregon State and Washington State, which seeks to prevent the conference’s departing members from standing in the way of their efforts to rebuild the beleaguered league.

A mediation process is ongoing between Oregon State and Washington State and the 10 departing Pac-12 members, according to the court filings, but two schools believe that shouldn’t stop the court case from proceeding.

At issue is who gets to decide what happens to the Pac-12 between now and when those schools officially leave for their new conference on Aug. 1, 2024.

“The departing schools continue to undermine our efforts to secure the future of the Pac-12 Conference. They are relying on flimsy arguments to try to escape accountability for their actions,” Oregon State and Washington State said in a statement.

Washington’s motion to intervene in the case, which was granted and includes a request for dismissal, was filed in Superior Court in Whitman County, not far from Washington State’s Pullman campus.

The nine other departing members filed a brief in support of the University of Washington’s motion.

The 10 outgoing schools say Oregon State and Washington State broke conference rules by not “making a meaningful attempt to resolve the dispute” internally and that the departing members have been precluded from the legal process because only the Pac-12 and Commissioner George Kliavkoff are listed as defendants in the lawsuit.

“UW has a significant stake in opposing WSU and OSU’s claims and preventing the Court from granting the relief requested,” Washington wrote in the filing.

The departing schools also contend they have not officially withdrawn from the conference until they have given written notice.

Oregon State and Washington State say public declarations and internal communications about joining a new conference amount to an official notice of withdrawal, and by doing so the departing schools relinquished their rights to govern the Pac-12.

Judge Gary Libey granted on Sept. 11 a request by Oregon State and Washington State for a temporary restraining order to prevent Kliavkoff from convening a board meeting that would include representatives from any of the 10 departing members.

The judge did allow the conference to conduct day-to-day business, saying any decisions need to be made by unanimous vote. That provided short-term relief for Oregon State and Washington State.

A preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled to be heard by Libey on Nov. 14 that is intended to settle the question of who now runs the Pac-12.

Lawyers for Oregon State and Washington State said the schools fear outgoing members might try to dissolve the conference, which takes a three-quarters majority vote.

The Pac-12 was torn apart by a wave of conference realignment this past summer, triggered by Kliavkoff’s inability to land a media rights deal that members believed would keep them competitive with schools in other Power Five conferences.

Oregon State and Washington State are the only members of the Pac-12 that have not declared their intention to join another conference, starting in August. The schools are facing a dramatic decrease in revenue and exposure as they search for their next conference affiliation.

Some type of partnership with Mountain West schools is the likely resolution, but even that is complicated.

NCAA rules allow for Oregon State and Washington State to operate as a two-team conference for the next two years.

Leaders from the schools have said repeatedly their first priority is to keep the Pac-12 alive, and that they are trying to identify the conference’s assets and liabilities.


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Football

Jordan Morgan...

Arizona Sports

Arizona OL, potential 1st-round pick Jordan Morgan shows off speed at NFL Draft Combine

Arizona left tackle Jordan Morgan had the opportunity to show off his speed and athleticism at the NFL Combine on Sunday.

1 day ago

Jacob Cowing...

Arizona Sports

Arizona’s Jacob Cowing shows off elite speed at NFL Scouting Combine

NFL Draft prospect Jacob Cowing from Arizona put up one of the fastest 40-yard dash times among wide receivers at the combine.

2 days ago

An empty podium is seen at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by...

David Veenstra

What to watch for: 2024 NFL Scouting Combine schedule, preview and more

The NFL Scouting Combine begins this week in Indianapolis. Here's a complete guide for college and professional fans across Arizona.

7 days ago

Quarterback Jayden de Laura #7 prepares for a game at Arizona Stadium on October 28, 2023 in Tucson...

Tom Kuebel

Former Arizona quarterback Jayden de Laura declares for NFL Draft

Jayden de Laura declared for the NFL Draft and will forego his fifth season of college football eligibility.

11 days ago

Arizona Wildcats director of athletic Desiree Reed-Francois is introduced...

Arizona Sports

Arizona AD Reed-Francois: Financial shortfall not ‘incredibly unique’

University of Arizona director of athletics Desiree Reed-Francois departed Missouri because it was an "opportunity to come home."

14 days ago

A general overview of Arizona Stadium before the college football game between the Arizona Wildcats...

David Veenstra

University of Arizona hires Desireé Reed-Francois as new athletic director

The University of Arizona hired Desireé Reed-Francois as its new athletic director on Monday. She is expected to sign a five-year deal.

15 days ago

Washington asks courts to dismiss Washington State, Oregon State lawsuit against Pac-12