The US universities of Oregon State and Washington State, the two remaining members of the Pac-12 college sports conference, have been granted a temporary emergency restraining order against Pac-12 to prevent the conference from holding a formal board meeting later this week.

The ruling, made by a judge at the Superior Court of Washington, was made after Oregon State and Washington State filed a complaint against Pac-12 last week, seeking an injunction to block what they believe is an attempt by commissioner George Kliavkoff and the 10 exiting schools to make governance decisions that affect their futures.

The complaint said Oregon and Washington want to prevent any votes on the Pac-12’s future until there is legal clarity over who controls what is left of the conference. Both remaining schools have said they want to explore ways to rebuild the Pac-12 by taking control of their own assets and brand.

However, the ruling also allows Pac-12 to conduct business regarding urgent matters for the 2023-24 academic year before 10 of its 12 members depart for other conferences for the next 2024-25 year.

In a statement, Washington State president Kirk Schulz said: “We are very pleased with the court's decision today. It has always been our view that the future of the Pac-12 should be determined by the remaining members, not by those who are leaving the conference.

“This position is consistent with the action the Pac-12 board of directors first took when the first two schools [USC and UCLA] announced their departure from the conference more than a year ago.

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“We remain firmly committed to exploring all options to protect the interests of our student-athletes, coaches, and fans. We look forward to the court putting the question of governance to rest so that Washington State University and Oregon State University can make reasonable and necessary decisions regarding the future of the Pac-12 Conference.”

Pac-12 bylaws state the 10 departing schools should no longer be represented among the Pac-12’s board of directors due to them giving formal notice to exit the conference.

The court did not decide on which schools still have voting rights regarding the conference and its assets.

The restraining order comes amid a mass exodus of members from Pac-12 for the 2024-25 season, the latest being by Stanford University and the University of California-Berkeley, which announced last week they would join rivals the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

Stanford and California are the fifth and sixth Pac-12 teams to join the ACC for 2024, following the universities of Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, and Colorado announcing their departure.

The universities of Oregon and Washington became the third and fourth Pac-12 teams to join the Big Ten for 2024 last month, following the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) announcing their departure.

The University of Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah, meanwhile, have defected to the Big 12 Conference.

The exits have been driven by American football and the broadcast rights money that it generates. The Big Ten has a seven-year, $7-billion media rights deal with multiple networks, while fellow league the Big 12 agreed to a $2 billion with national network Fox and international sports broadcaster ESPN last year.

The ACC, meanwhile, has a 20-year deal in place with ESPN that runs through the 2035-36 academic year giving each school $40 million per year. Earlier this year, the conference announced an agreement with CW Network to broadcast 50 ACC football and basketball games through the 2026-27 academic year.

The 2023 NCAA Division regular season started on August 26 and ends on December 9.