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Joining Big XII Commissioner Bob Bowlsby in unraveling the process that led Oklahoma and Texas to depart from the conference, Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) has called on the DOJ to investigate ESPN’s role in advancing talks of their transition to the SEC. ESPN has denied playing a role in the college football shakeup.
Reported by John Ourand from Sports Business Journal, details emerged regarding the Senator’s outreach to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding that the DOJ open a case looking into the seismic shakeup that puts the Big XII’s future in peril.
Sen. Marshall of Kansas wants the Department of Justice to investigate ESPN after Texas and Oklahoma left the Big 12 for the SEC. pic.twitter.com/luMACNcbHU— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) August 4, 2021
Sen. Marshall announced via letter: “I write today to ask that the DOJ investigate ESPN’s role in the potential destruction of the Big 12…and if any anti-competitive or illegal behavior occurred relating to manipulating the conference change or ESPN’s contractual television rights.”
Included in the letter is the projected loss in annual revenue that other Big XII programs, such as University of Kansas and Kansas State, will now endure because of OU and UT’s switch to the SEC. The reported losses were cited at “over $250 million.”
Announced July 28, Big XII Commissioner Bob Bowlsby sent a cease and desist letter to ESPN, accusing the network of aiding OU-UT’s decision alongside the AAC. ESPN secured the television rights to SEC games, thus spawning a massive incentive to move Oklahoma and Texas to a 16-team super conference, as Bowlsby claims.
The sports network strongly shot down the allegations, considering them to be entirely “without merit.”
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela