State Supreme Court puts ruling that gave Oregon St., Washington St. control of Pac-12 on hold
By RALPH D. RUSSO Associated Press
The Washington state Supreme Court on Tuesday granted a request by the University of Washington and the Pac-12 to put on hold a lower court’s ruling that gave Oregon State and Washington State control of the conference until the high court can make a full review.
Two weeks ago, a judge in Whitman County, Washington, granted Oregon State and Washington State a preliminary injunction, making the Pacific Northwest rivals the only two schools with voting rights in the conference.
They argue the other 10 schools relinquished the right to determine the future of the conference when they announced they would be leaving for other Power Five leagues.
“The decision effectively ensures that all 12 current members will have an equal voice in determining how the revenue our schools earned this year is distributed and utilized while the Court considers our arguments,” the departing schools said in a statement.
The defendants appealed the ruling the next day and the Supreme Court kept in place a temporary restraining order the lower court had granted Oregon State and Washington State in September when they first took the conference and departing schools to court.
The latest ruling keeps the status quo in place longer — any decisions in the conference must be made by unanimous vote — and gives the Supreme Court more time to make a full review of the lower’s court’s decision.
The court said briefs are to be filed by the parties by Dec. 12.
The case is about an interpretation of the Pac-12’s bylaws that cover schools leaving the conference and what qualifies of notification of withdrawal.
“In my view the provision is poorly written and possibly ambiguous,” Washington Supreme Court Commissioner Michael Johnston wrote in the court’s decision. “It gives no guidance as to what constitutes a formal notice of withdrawal and it seemingly makes it impossible to give notice of withdrawal before its August 1, 2024, expiration date without invoking its penalties; that is, the penalties are triggered even if a school announces that it plans to withdraw but intends the withdrawal to be effective only after that date.”
Alberta Newspaper Group