Washington State and Oregon State announced a lawsuit against the Pac-12 on Friday seeking control over what's left of the conference, including its assets.
The programs are the final two members of the Pac-12 after the other 10 members announced their departures for other conferences. Stanford and Cal reached an agreement to join the ACC last week, leaving WSU and OSU as the final two standing members of the storied conference following a prolonged exodus.
“Ten schools have given notice that they are leaving the Pac-12 for other conferences,” the announcement reads. “According to the Pac-12 constitution and bylaws, if a member school gives notice of withdrawal, they automatically cease to be a member of the Pac-12 board of directors. Therefore, Oregon State and Washington State now constitute the entire membership of the Pac-12 board of directors.”
The Pac-12 and commissioner George Kliavkoff are named as defendants in the lawsuit, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Washington State president Kirk Schulz and Oregon State president Jayathi Murthy announced the legal action.
Per the statement, the lawsuit specifically seeks "to confirm the governance structure of the conference, gain access to business information and protect the conference’s assets." It also seeks a restraining order to “prevent the Pac-12 from permitting departing members of the Pac-12 board of directors from meeting and attempting to take any action regarding the status or governance of the conference in ways that preclude OSU and WSU from potentially rebuilding the conference."
WSU and OSU are considering their options, which appear to consist of joining the Mountain West or attempting to rebuild the Pac-12.
"We owe it to our student-athletes, coaches and fans to do everything in our power to protect the Pac-12 Conference and explore all future options,” Schulz said, per the announcement. “WSU and OSU are working in lockstep to identify the best path forward. The future of the Pac-12 must be determined by the remaining members, not by those who are leaving."
The Pac-12 office did not offer an immediate public response to the announced lawsuit.