Oregon State, Washington State OK revenue deal with departing Pac-12 schools

Published 12:42 pm Friday, December 22, 2023

The Associated Press

Oregon State and Washington State announced Thursday they have reached an agreement in principle with 10 departing Pac-12 schools on revenue distribution for 2023-24 that ends a legal battle sparked by conference realignment.

Last week, Oregon State and Washington State were given control of the Pac-12 and assets when the state Supreme Court of Washington declined to review a lower court’s decision to grant the schools a preliminary injunction.

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Financial terms of the settlement were not released, but in a joint statement Washington State and Oregon State said the departing members will forfeit a portion of distributions for this school year and guarantees to cover a specific portion of “potential future liabilities.”

“This agreement ensures that the future of the Pac-12 will be decided by the schools that are staying, not those that are leaving. We look forward to what the future holds for our universities, our student-athletes, the Pac-12 Conference and millions of fans,” Oregon State President Jayathi Murthy and Washington State President Kirk Schulz said in a statement.

The conference, which Oregon State and Washington State intend to keep alive and hope to rebuild, will retain its assets and all future revenues.

“This agreement allows OSU and WSU to maintain control of the hundreds of millions of dollars coming into the conference in future years, as we have always maintained they would, while calling for the vast majority of funds earned in 2023-24 to be distributed equally among the 12 members,” the 10 departing schools said in a joint statement.

The schools said the “fine details” of the agreement would be worked out in the coming days.

The Pac-12 was ripped apart this summer after the league’s leadership failed to land a media rights agreement that would keep it competitive with other power conferences.

Next year, USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington will join the Big Ten; Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah will join the Big 12; and Stanford and California will join the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Oregon State and Washington State were left behind. The schools sued the conference and the 10 departing schools in September, claiming they should be the sole board members of the Pac-12.

Oregon State and Washington State said the other members relinquished their right to vote on conference business when they announced their departures and a Superior Court judge in Whitman County, Washington, agreed.

The departing schools appealed the ruling, but the Washington Supreme Court passed on hearing the appeal.

Oregon State and Washington State plan to operate as a two-team conference, allowable for two years by NCAA rule, and then rebuild.

They have a scheduling agreement in place with the Mountain West for football next season and are working on a deal to have an affiliation with the West Coast Conference for basketball and other Olympics sports for two years.

Oregon State and Washington State are in line to receive tens of millions in revenue over the next two years from current agreements the Pac-12 has with the College Football Playoff and Rose Bowl.

There are also potential liabilities. The Pac-12 is named as a defendant in an antitrust lawsuit along with the NCAA and other power conferences that could cost billions in damages.