Oregon State, Washington State file lawsuit against Kliavkoff, Pac-12 seeking temporary restraining order 


Oregon State University and Washington State University filed Friday a legal complaint seeking a temporary restraining order, and the Pac-12 Conference and commissioner George Kliavkoff are cited as defendants. 

Oregon State and Washington State filed the complaint “to confirm the governance structure of the conference, gain access to business information, and protect the conference’s assets,” according to a joint release by Oregon State and Washington State

“This is a critical step that allows the two universities to continue to explore all options for preserving the conference going forward, according to Oregon State President Jayathi Murthy and Washington State President Kirk Schulz,” the releases state. 

Oregon State and Washington State are the only two programs remaining in the Pac-12 as 10 former member programs announced plans for conference realignment. Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah will join the Big 12 Conference in 2024, Oregon, UCLA, USC and Washington will join the Big Ten and Cal and Stanford will join the Atlantic Coast Conference

According to the joint releases, the lawsuit “seeks to prevent the Pac-12 from permitting the 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.” 

The temporary restraining order against Kliavkoff and the Pac-12 would stop a Wednesday meeting of “current and former members of the Pac-12 board” to vote on a “go forward governance approach,” which would be “in violation of the Pac-12 constitution and by-laws,” according to the releases. 

The meeting or similar actions “would cause immediate and irreparable harm to OSU, WSU, and the conference,” according to the releases. 

“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,” Washington State University President and Chair of the Pac-12 Board of Directors Kirk Schulz stated in the releases. “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.” 

According to the releases, “the legal brief filed by OSU and WSU states that the other schools in the Pac-12 forfeited their right to vote on conference matters when they announced their withdrawal from the league.” 

The temporary restraining order would allow Oregon State and Washington State “to make reasonable business decisions for the conference while continuing to seek collaboration and consultation with departing universities on any ultimate financial decisions,” according to the releases. 

“As the two remaining member institutions of the Pac-12, we are stepping forward with urgency to safeguard the integrity of the conference and preserve its legacy on behalf of student-athletes, fans and the conference itself,” Oregon State University President Jayathi Murthy stated in the releases. “We’ve heard the voices of constituents at home and from across the West about how much the Pac-12 and our regional rivalries mean to them. We are linking arms and fighting on their behalf.”