The Washington State Cougars and Oregon State Beavers have total control over the Pac-12 thanks to the Washington State Supreme Court denying motions from the University of Washington to review an earlier ruling from a Whitman Country judge giving control of the conference to the two leftovers.
You can read the entire order here, which is very brief. It only mentions that a majority of the court voted to deny the review, so we don’t know how each justice voted.
WSU President Kirk Schulz and Oregon State President Jayathi Murthy released a statement after the ruling saying, “We are pleased with the Washington Supreme Court’s decision today. We look forward to continuing our work of charting a path forward for the conference that is in the best interest of student-athletes and our wider university communities.”
As the only members of the Pac-12 deciding not to leave for another conference, the Cougs and Beavs now own the only two board positions, and thus, are the ultimate decision makers. That’s key, as the a conference assets and liabilities are still to be decided on. You may have seen this week that WSU and OSU blocked an attempt to distribute revenue payments to the 12 schools, as has typically been done this time of year in the past. However, there is nothing in the conference bylaws that requires the conference to make that payment.
And the bylaws are important here. The departing 12 forfeited their seat at the board room table once they announced their intention to leave the conference, which is SOP according to the bylaws. That was the genesis of this legal battle.
So WSU and Oregon State run the league. A settlement among the 12 schools is still possible, and according to Jon Wilner, citing sources, a settlement was voted down in November.
I’m betting the 12 come back to the table to re-open settlement talks. The only difference now is WSU and Oregon State have the leverage.