The Western Athletic Conference is seeking "a judicial determination as to the date that Fresno State and the University of Nevada Reno may terminate their membership with the WAC," commissioner Karl Benson confirmed at a news conference today.
In a statement, Benson said, "The WAC has maintained — consistent with the bylaws — that these institutions may not depart the WAC until June 30, 2012. However, through both direct communication with individuals at both schools and media reports, Fresno State and University of Nevada Reno have indicated an intention to terminate their membership with the WAC prior to the date allowed by the bylaws.
Due to the irreparable injury such early withdrawal would cause to the WAC, a judicial determination is required in the near future. Additionally, as communications occurred regarding the Mountain West Conference’s desire to schedule conference play with Fresno State and University of Nevada Reno prior to June 30, 2012, the WAC is also seeking injunctive relief from such action."
Meanwhile, Fresno State President John Welty said through a spokeswoman: "We’ve been advised by the WAC that it has initiated legal action. That is unfortunate. We believe that all the issues can be resolved through discussion rather than through costly legal proceedings."
University of Nevada president Milton Glick told Reno TV station KRNV, "I am disappointed. It is unfortunate that this matter has moved to litigation before any discussions between the parties were undertaken. We have been very public about our desire to resolve these matters directly with the Western Athletic Conference and to do so as expeditiously as possible. At this point, our university legal counsel is in contact with the WAC’s attorney."
Benson said, "The WAC is simply seeking to protect its interests and insure that all member institutions are protected from a potential and threatened violation of the bylaws." He said, "Such inappropriate action would make it impossible for member institutions to schedule athletic events and thereby would adversely affect the WAC, the WAC member institutions and the student-athletes."