The Big 12 Conference sent a “cease and desist” letter to ESPN on Wednesday, demanding that the network ends all actions that could harm the conference and its members.
In the letter, the Big 12 calls for ESPN to not communicate with the league’s existing conference members or any NCAA conference regarding its members, possible conference realignment or potential financial outcomes associated with realignment, Sports Illustrated reports.
.@SINow has obtained the cease and desist letter that the Big 12 sent to ESPN.— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 28, 2021
In it, commissioner Bob Bowlsby says that ESPN has reached out to at least one of the eight remaining Big 12 members in an attempt to convince the school to leave in wake of the Texas and OU exit. pic.twitter.com/j50gEBPWBY
Bowlsby told Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger that he has documented evidence that ESPN tried to encourage an unnamed conference to add Big 12 members in an effort to destabilize the league. Dellenger later reports the “unnamed” conference is the American.
“It is tortious interference,” he told Sports Illustrated.
Bowlsby: "It causes me to further suspect they (ESPN) had their hands all over the Texas and Oklahoma move to the SEC. They were was deceptive as you can possibly be. There are right and wrong ways to these things. They sought to deceive us from the very beginning."— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 28, 2021
“It causes me to further suspect [ESPN] had their hands all over the Texas and Oklahoma move to the SEC,” Bowlsby told SI.com. “They were was deceptive as you can possibly be. There are right and wrong ways to [do] these things. They sought to deceive us from the very beginning.”
ESPN’s told SI.com that Bowlsby’s allegations “have no merit.”
A source from the Big 12 told SI that the network is trying to cause “chaos and panic.”
“You think that you’ve seen it all,” the source said. “You can’t make this s*** up. They want the Big 12 to dissolve for financial gain. But time is on our side.”
ESPN’s statement on Bowlsby’s allegations: “The claims in the letter have no merit.”
Can confirm that the unnamed conference that Bowlsby is referencing is the American, source tells @SINow.— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 28, 2021
All of this news comes a day before the SEC’s vote to determine if Texas and Oklahoma will join the conference, SI.com reports. At least three-fourths of the SEC’s 14 members will have to vote yes on the conference expansion.
Texas A&M’s Board of Regents recommended to its university president to support SEC expansion, The Athletic‘s Sam Khan Jr. reports. Though the motion to approve the recommendation to support SEC expansion and the subsequent statement passed, it was not unanimous by the Texas A&M Board of Regents — one regent, Mike Hernandez III, opposed the motion.
Full statement from Texas A&M’s board of regents on their meeting today and decision to recommend support for SEC expansion: pic.twitter.com/o0CMIqaaXP— Sam Khan Jr. (@skhanjr) July 28, 2021
The news that Oklahoma and Texas will soon begin the process of joining the SEC first surfaced last week, and OutKick previously reported the programs are prepared to wait until the current grant of rights agreement expires in 2025 before moving on from the Big 12.
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