Emission and absorbance spectra, along with low-temperature excited-state lifetimes, were obtained for the hemilabile complexes, [Ru(bpy)2L](PF6)2 [L = (2-methoxyphenyl)diphenylphosphine (RuPOMe) (1) and (2-ethoxyphenyl)diphenylphosphine (RuPOEt) (2)] in solid 4:1 ethanol/methanol solution. Spectral data were evaluated with ground-state reduction potentials using Lever parameters. Lifetime data for these complexes were collected from 77 to 160 K, and the rate constant for the combined radiative and nonradiative decay process, k, the thermally activated process prefactor, k'(0), the rate constant for the MLCT --> d-d transition, k', and the activation energy, DeltaE', were calculated from a plot of ln(1/tau) versus 1/T for both (1) and (2). The low-temperature luminescence lifetimes of (1) were observed to decrease with increases in water concentration. The photophysical and kinetic data of (1) and (2) are compared to literature data for [Ru(bpy)3](PF6)2. The emission maxima of (1) and (2) are blue-shifted relative to [Ru(bpy)3](PF6)2 due to the presence of the strong-field phosphine ligand, which enhances pi back-bonding to the bipyridyl ligands. The thermal activation energy, DeltaE', is significantly larger for [Ru(bpy)3](PF6)2 than for (1) and (2) resulting in a faster MLCT --> d-d transition for (1) and (2). These results are discussed in the context of radiationless decay through thermally activated ligand-field states on the metal complex.