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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

State Supreme Court pauses Pac-12 decision for one month

WSU Athletic Director Pat Chun, left, and President Kirk Schulz attend Tuesday’s Pac-12 hearing in Whitman County Superior Court in Colfax.  (James Hanlon/The Spokesman-Review)

The Washington State Supreme Court on Thursday granted a temporary stay of a decision from a lower court earlier this week that would give control of the Pac-12 Conference to WSU and Oregon State University.

On Tuesday, Whitman County Superior Court Judge Gary Libey granted a preliminary injunction against the athletic conference that removed voting rights on the board of directors from 10 schools that have announced they will leave the conference after next summer.

The University of Washington appealed the decision on behalf of the nine other departing schools.

The temporary stay is in place for at least a month until the court can rule on an emergency stay.

At Tuesday’s court hearing, attorneys for the conference and UW argued against giving the two remaining schools sole control of the board for fear that they might not distribute this school year’s revenues fairly.

WSU and OSU said the departing schools do not have a long-term interest in the conference and if they are allowed to stay on the board, they might dissolve all of the conference’s assets.

“It has always been our view that the future of the Pac‑12 should be determined by the remaining members, not by those schools that are leaving the conference,” WSU President Kirk Schulz and Athletic Director Pat Chun said in joint statement after Tuesday’s hearing. “This position is consistent with the action the Pac‑12 Board of Directors took when the first two schools announced their departure from the conference more than a year ago.”

James Hanlon's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.