Usually I like to root for the underdog in sports. It's just more satisfying to watch a team that's expected to lose defy the odds and beat the supposedly more powerful team.
That's one reason I was hoping Oregon State and Washington State would score a legal victory against the eight members of the Pac-12 who have announced that they're leaving the conference for other leagues after a media rights negotiation gone bad left the Pac-12 with less TV money than the departing members wanted.
USC and UCLA had already announced they were heading to the Big 10, which means currently the Pac-12 is really the Pac-2: Oregon State and Washington State.
At least, that's how OSU and WSU see the situation. That's why they went to court to prevent the ten departing members of the Pac-12 from being able to divvy up the financial and other resources of the league, possibly as soon as a league board meeting scheduled for next Wednesday.
Today a judge ruled in favor of OSU and WSU. Here's excerpts from the Oregonian story.
Washington State and Oregon State scored a major victory in court on Monday when a Whitman County (Wash.) judge agreed to their request for a temporary restraining order preventing the Pac-12′s presidents and chancellors from meeting until the court determines the makeup of the board of directors.
“That makes everybody equal,” Superior Court Judge Gary Libey said in issuing his ruling a few minutes after 12 p.m.
A preliminary injunction hearing to determine which schools have voting rights -- all 12, or only the Beavers and Cougars -- is expected to be scheduled in the next few weeks.
“I am pleased with today’s decision,” Oregon State president Jayathi Murthy said on social media. “As the two remaining Pac-12 members, Oregon State and Washington State must be able to chart a path forward for the Pac-12 -- not the members that have chosen to leave it.”
...The Pac-12 bylaws state that if a school gives notice of withdrawal prior to Aug. 1, 2024, then its “representative to the Pac-12 Board of Directors shall automatically cease to be a member of the Pac-12 Board of Directors and shall cease to have the right to vote on any matter.”
What defines a notice of withdrawal?
The bylaws don’t specify. None of the outgoing schools have delivered written notice, according to a source. But WSU and OSU believe the public statements by executives from the 10 schools — and the “welcome” announcements blasted on social media by their new leagues — constitute notice, thereby rendering their presidents ineligible for the board.
Major strategic and financial issues require super-majority approval (75 percent). If the court determines the 10 outgoing schools retain board-of-directors status, they could do as they please. One option: Vote to dissolve the conference as of next summer, which would result in all assets being split among the 12 schools.
But if the Cougars and Beavers are deemed the sole board members, they would control the assets and potentially use tens of millions of dollars in Pac-12 funds to rebuild the conference and offset the loss of revenue resulting from the collapse.
I sure hope that Oregon State and Washington State can rebuild the Pac-12 by bringing in new members. The most viable option to do this seems to be folding in all or most of the members of the Mountain West Conference into the Pac-12, assuming OSU and WSU succeed in gaining legal control of the league.
Sure, it would be a whole different Pac-12 with the Mountain West Conference members: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State, and Wyoming.
But the Pac-12 has a lot more visibility and prestige than the Mountain West Conference. Seemingly that would be a selling point if OSU and WSU make a pitch to the MWC to merge the two leagues under the Pac-12 banner.
After all, the MWC has "west" in its name, which goes well with "Pac" or "Pacific." I sort of understand why Stanford and California are heading to the ACC - Atlantic Coast Conference. It just seems bizarre that two universities located so close to the Pacific Ocean would be part of the Atlantic Coast Conference.