WAC files complaint against FSU, UNR and MWC

DISTRICT COURT, JEFFERSON COUNTY, COLORADOCourt Address: 100 Jefferson County Parkway Golden, CO 80401 Telephone No: (303) 271-6148WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE, a Colorado nonprofit corporation, Plaintiff,v.CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FRESNO, a California state institution, UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, a Nevada state institution, and MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE, a Colorado nonprofit corporation,DefendantsAttorney for PlaintiffJon T. Bradley, #10143BRADLEY DEVITT HAAS & WATKINS, P.C.South Mesa Professional Building2201 Ford StreetGolden, Colorado 80401Telephone Number: (303) 384-9228Facsimile Number: (303) 384-9231Atty. Reg. No. 10143e-mail: Jon@goldenlawyers.com %���COURT USE ONLY%���_______________________Case Number: Div. Ctrm:COMPLAINTComes now the Plaintiff, Western Athletic Conference (WAC), by and through its attorneys, Bradley Devitt Haas & Watkins P.C., and as and for its Complaint against the Defendants states and alleges as follows: General Allegations1. Western Athletic Conference (hereinafter WAC) is a Colorado nonprofit corporation with its principal place of business located at 9250 E. Costilla Avenue, Suite 300 Englewood Colorado, Arapahoe County, 80112. The WAC is a conference of academic institutions which participates in NCAA Football Bowl Subdvision (FBS) athletics. This litigation seeks declaratory relief regarding interpretation of the bylaws of the WAC. Pursuant to Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure 98(c)1 venue and jurisdiction are proper in Jefferson County District Court, Colorado because two of the Defendants are nonresidents of the State of Colorado.2. The current academic institutions which are members of the WAC include the University of Hawaii, an institution of the State of Hawaii; the University of Idaho, an institution of the State of Idaho; Louisiana Tech University, an institution of the State of Louisiana; New Mexico State University, an institution of the State of New Mexico; San Jose State University, an institution of the State of California; Utah State University, an institution of the State of Utah; Boise State University, an institution of the State of Idaho; California State University, Fresno, an institution of the State of California; and University of Nevada, an institution of the State of Nevada.3. California State University, Fresno (hereinafter Fresno) is a California state institution located in Fresno, California. Fresno is an academic institution which participates in FBS athletics. Fresno is currently a member of the WAC which provided its verbal notice of its intent to withdraw from the conference on August 18, 2010 and confirmed its notice of its intent to withdraw by letter dated August 20, 2010. 4. University of Nevada (hereinafter Nevada) is a Nevada state institution located in Reno, Nevada. Nevada is an academic institution which participates in FBS athletics. Nevada is currently a member of the WAC which provided its verbal notice of its intent to withdraw from the conference on August 18, 2010 and confirmed its notice of its intent to withdraw by letter dated August 24, 2010. 5. Boise State University has provided its notice of its intent to withdraw from the conference prior to June 30, 2010.6. The Mountain West Conference is a Colorado nonprofit corporation having its principal place of business located at 15455 Gleneagle Drive, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80921.7. The WAC and its member institutions are governed by bylaws which were most recently amended on June 6, 2006. A copy of said bylaws are attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference and marked Exhibit A.8. According to Section 7 of the bylaws, “Any Member may withdraw from the Conference by filing with each of the other Members and with the Commissioner of the Conference, on or before July 1 of any year, an official notice of withdrawal, in which event the withdrawal shall be effective the following June 30. Any withdrawing Member shall, however, play all approved athletic competitions scheduled with the other Members in accordance with the governing contracts unless such competitions are waived by written consent of the parties affected.”9. Boise State University provided its notice of withdrawal prior to July 1, 2010. Therefore, its withdrawal is effective June 30, 2011.10. Fresno provided its notice of withdrawal after July 1, 2010. Therefore, its withdrawal is effective June 30, 2012. A copy of the notice of withdrawal is attached hereto, and incorporated herein by reference, and marked Exhibit B.11. Nevada provided its notice of withdrawal after July 1, 2010. Therefore, its withdrawal is effective June 30, 2012. A copy of the notice of withdrawal is attached hereto, and incorporated herein by reference, and marked Exhibit C.12. Fresno has indicated that it is its desire to withdraw on July 1, 2011. Withdrawal as of July 1, 2011 would be contrary to the conditions and requirements of the WAC bylaws. 13. Nevada has indicated that it believes that its withdrawal is effective June 30, 2011. Withdrawal as of that date would be contrary to the conditions and requirements of the WAC bylaws. Nevada has further indicated that it will play in the Mountain West Conference for the 2011-2012 season. Nevada is obligated to play in the WAC for the 2011-2012 season pursuant to the WAC bylaws. First Claim for Relief(Declaratory Relief)14. The Plaintiff incorporates paragraphs 1 through 13 as if fully set forth herein.15. The notices provided by Fresno and Nevada were not provided prior to July 1, 2010. Consequently, the notices are not effective for their withdrawal from the WAC until June 30, 2012.16. As Members of the WAC, Fresno and Nevada are obligated to schedule conference games in all sports as Members through June 30, 2012, and participate in the WAC seasons for their athletics in accordance with the bylaws.17. If Fresno or Nevada fail or refuse to participate as Members of the WAC through June 30, 2012 there will be irreparable damage to the conference and its remaining members in that scheduling will be incomplete, and participation and competition for the student athletes will be adversely affected. There will be irreparable financial consequences in amounts that cannot be accurately determined. The stature of the conference will be jeopardized. Television, radio and other media contracts will be adversely affected and jeopardized.18. Fresno and Nevada have indicated that they do not believe that the bylaws require them to remain as Members of the WAC through June 30, 2012. The parties have a mature, ripe dispute regarding the interpretation of the bylaws. Rule 57 of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure provides a proper mechanism for this Court to declare the rights, status, and other legal relations between these parties.19. Plaintiff seeks a declaration from this Court that Fresno and Nevada are bound by the bylaws of the WAC and are to remain Members of the WAC through June 30, 2012. Second Claim for Relief(Injunctive Relief)20. Plaintiff incorporates the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 through 19 as if fully set forth herein.21. Upon information and belief, Defendants Fresno, Nevada, and the Mountain West Conference are proceeding with the scheduling of athletic games within the Mountain West Conference for the 2011-2012 seasons for inter-conference play between Fresno, Nevada and Mountain West Conference schools. Such scheduling will be mutually exclusive with proper scheduling of conference games by Fresno and Nevada in the WAC.22. Unless Fresno, Nevada, and the Mountain West Conference, are restrained from proceeding with such scheduling and unless Fresno and Nevada are ordered to comply with their scheduling requirements with the WAC, the WAC and its remaining Members will suffer immediate irreparable injury, including but not limited to: a. Incalculable, irreparable financial harm to the remaining WAC academic institutions and to the WAC. The ESPN contract with the WAC is subject to renegotiation. The premature departure of Fresno or Nevada would likely cause irreparable damage to the prospect of a reasonable renegotiation of the ESPN contract. b. Impossibility to schedule football games. As Boise State has left the conference, a void in scheduling has already been created. That void has been partially filled by an agreement with Brigham Young University, however, the remaining six WAC Members would be unable to find and schedule opponents for football games during the 2011 season. c. Irreparable injury to the status of the WAC to receive revenue distribution from the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). Over the last four years the WAC has been at the number 2 spot between the five non-automatic qualified conferences. The premature departure of Fresno or Nevada would significantly jeopardize and irreparably harm the WAC in its expectation of revenue from the BCS. d. Irreparable injury to the national stature of the conference. e. The premature departure of Fresno or Nevada would irreparably interfere with the process and prospects of finding acceptable academic institutions to join the conference. f. The premature departure of Fresno or Nevada would jeopardize the prospects of the WAC fulfilling its football bowl obligations.23. There is no legal remedy that provides full, complete, adequate relief to the WAC other than injunctive relief. WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff prays for relief as follows:1. For a declaration from this Court that the effective date of the withdrawal of Nevada from the WAC is June 30, 2012, in accordance with the bylaws.2. For a declaration from this Court that the effective date of the withdrawal of Fresno from the WAC is June 30, 2012, in accordance with the bylaws.3. For an injunction against all the Defendants prohibiting them from scheduling any athletic contests which will interfere with the scheduling of conference games between Fresno and Nevada with the remaining WAC Members through the 2011-2012 athletic seasons.4. For such other and further relief as to the Court may seem just and proper.BRADLEY DEVITT HAAS & WATKINS, P.C. Attorneys for Plaintiff /s/ Jon T. Bradley Jon T. Bradley, #10143Plaintiff’s Address:Western Athletic Conference9250 E. Costilla Ave., Suite 300 Englewood, CO 80112

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