COLFAX, Wash. — A Whitman County judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the PAC-12 conference following a request for one from the two remaining schools in the conference.
Washington State University (WSU) and Oregon State University (OSU) filed a lawsuit against the PAC-12 on Friday seeking to prevent the 10 departed schools from making decisions about the conference governance. Judge Gary Libey granted the schools with a temporary restraining order that prevents the conference from meeting or attempting to meet until more the court can decide who is allowed to be on the governing board.
This means the PAC-12 meeting set for Wednesday has been canceled.
During Monday's hearing, representatives from OSU, WSU and the PAC-12 presented arguments on a possible restraining order. Eric MacMichael, the attorney for OSU and WSU, said the restraining order would serve as emergency relief to preserve the status quo and prevent a breach of the PAC-12 bylaws.
MacMichael added that all 10 departing schools lost their right to vote on conference matters when they gave their notice to withdraw, even though it wasn't an official withdraw at the time.
“It’s been very clear for the last 14 months that members who announce they’re leaving and joining competitors can no longer be members of the board or make decisions on behalf of the conference.”" MacMichael said.
Mark Lambert, who represents the PAC-12, said Wednesday's meeting had nothing to do with conference governance. He says all 12 schools that make up the conference need to be able to weigh in on essential functions, like employee retention.
“192 employees will dwindle fast and nobody will get what they want out of the conference and that would be a disaster," Lambert said. "If the conference can’t perform and can’t deliver on the obligations that make that revenue possible and it’s put into question, everybody loses.”
Lambert said it's a mischaracterization that the PAC-12 wants to amend the conference bylaws. Rather, they are trying to "prevent a 10 versus two situation" with the conference members.
Ultimately, Judge Libey granted the temporary restraining order, which prohibits the conference from holding any meetings or taking steps to hold meetings. The conference can still continue business as normal but can't hold meetings until further notice.
Watch the full hearing with the player below:
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