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Washington Supreme Court commissioner grants stay in Pac-12 suit, pausing WSU’s and OSU’s grip on conference

The view from the press box at Gesa Field.  (JESSE TINSLEY/The Spokesman-Review)

A Washington State Supreme Court commissioner approved an emergency stay Tuesday, upholding a temporary stay granted nearly two weeks ago that blocked a lower court decision that would give control of the Pac-12 Conference to WSU and Oregon State University.

The emergency stay pauses a Nov. 14 preliminary injunction granted by Whitman County Superior Court Judge Gary Libey that removed voting rights on Pac-12’s board of directors from the 10 schools that have announced they will leave the conference after next summer.

WSU and Oregon State are suing the conference, arguing that the departing schools automatically lost their membership and voting rights.

The University of Washington and the Pac-12 Conference jointly filed an appeal seeking a discretionary review from the supreme court.

Court Commissioner Michael Johnston granted the stay, which is now effective until the court orders it lifted. In the meantime, the court is still deciding whether it will accept the case.

Tuesday’s ruling accelerated the schedule for the answers and replies to the motion for review.

A temporary restraining order preventing the Pac-12 board of commissioners from taking any action without the unanimous consent of all members remains in effect. The restraining order will preserve the status quo, Johnston’s ruling said, while providing a mechanism for the board, representing all 12 schools, to continue business as usual.

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.