As if the “Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC” saga couldn’t get more convoluted, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has accused ESPN of stirring up realignment.
Bowlsby, in a statement shared by AP’s Ralph D. Russo, said that he is absolutely certain that ESPN has been involved in manipulating other conferences to go after Big 12 schools.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby to AP: “I have absolute certainty they (ESPN) have been involved in manipulating other conferences to go after our members.”
The Big 12 has sent a cease-and-desist letter to ESPN, as first reported by @PeteThamel
— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) July 28, 2021
Russo further reported to AP that Oklahoma and Texas have been working on the move for months now while taking part in Big 12 strategy meetings where proprietary information has been was being shared. “This whole thing has been a complete articulation of deception,” Bowlsby said via Russo’s reporting.
Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger shared the cease-and-desist letter that the Big 12 sent to ESPN.
.@SINow has obtained the cease and desist letter that the Big 12 sent to ESPN.
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
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 28, 2021
The letter, addressed to ESPN’s president of programming and original content Burke Magnus, requested that ESPN provide the Big 12 with, “your written assurance that all such actions will cease and desist by noon central time on July 29, 2021.”
The “such actions” are all actions that may harm the Big 12 and its members and that ESPN not communicate with the existing Big 12 members or any other NCAA conference regarding the Big 12 conference’s members, possible conference realignment, or potential financial incentives or outcomes related to possible conference realignment.
The ESPN and Big 12 conference situation will continue to evolve as more information is released.