Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby takes aim at ESPN with cease-and-desist: 'This is across the line'


The Athletic 28 July, 2021 - 08:18pm 50 views

Did Texas join the SEC?

University of Texas and University of Oklahoma officials announced Tuesday they have formally asked to join the Southeastern Conference on July 1, 2025. SEC presidents are scheduled to meet Thursday and possibly vote to accept the Longhorns and Sooners, according to a Texas A&M source. Hookem.comThe next domino: Texas, Oklahoma formally ask to join the Southeastern Conference in 2025

When will Oklahoma join the SEC?

Report: Oklahoma formally applies for SEC membership, expected to join in 2022. Sooners WireReport: Oklahoma formally applies for SEC membership, expected to join in 2022

Is Oklahoma leaving the Big 12?

The Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners are on their way out of the Big 12 conference, after releasing a joint statement indicating their intentions not to renew their grant of rights agreements, which are set to expire in 2025. Sports IllustratedBig 12 Responds To Texas, Oklahoma Exits From Conference

How many teams are in the SEC?

The SEC has been operating with 14 members for 10 years, so adding two won't be a shock in how it handles league matters. That said, it would be adding two members with very high-profile athletics programs and a high opinion of themselves. Texas ranks first in revenue generated and Oklahoma ranks eighth. USA TODAYConference expansion is inevitable, but the SEC should be mindful of possible pitfalls

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby takes aim at ESPN with cease-and-desist: ‘This is across the line’

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Big 12 alleges ESPN trying to 'destabilize' league

ESPN 28 July, 2021 - 06:41pm

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Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby accused ESPN of encouraging other conferences to pick apart the league so Texas and Oklahoma can move to the Southeastern Conference more quickly and without paying a massive buyout.

"I have absolute certainty that they [ESPN] have been involved in manipulating other conferences to go after our members," Bowlsby told The Associated Press on Wednesday, after sending a cease-and-desist letter to the network.

The letter addressed to ESPN executive Burke Magnus, president of programming and content, said the Big 12 had become aware the network had taken actions "to not only harm the Big 12 Conference but to result in financial benefits for ESPN."

ESPN, which owns the SEC Network, signed a $3 billion deal with the Southeastern Conference last year that will give the network the broadcast rights to all SEC sports starting in 2024.

The network also has a rights deal with the Big 12, though it shares those rights with Fox. Those deals expire in 2025.

The Big 12 demanded the network stop "all actions that may harm the Conference and its members and that it not communicate with the Big 12 Conference's existing 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."

ESPN responded in a one-sentence statement: "The claims in the letter have no merit."

Texas and Oklahoma informed the Big 12 this week they would not be renewing an agreement that binds them to the league and its eight other members until 2025. The grant of media rights runs concurrently with the Big 12′s billion-dollar television contracts with ESPN and Fox.

On Tuesday, Texas and Oklahoma submitted a request to the SEC to join that league in 2025. To join the conference earlier than that could cost the schools tens of millions of dollars -- unless the Big 12 were to fall apart because some of the other members also were to leave.

"ESPN is incentivizing other conferences to destabilize the Big 12," Bowlsby added.

ESPN owns the rights to all Atlantic Coast Conference athletics and has an exclusive deal with the American Athletic Conference. The network also has current rights agreements with the Big Ten and the Pac-12, though it shares those with Fox too.

Bowlsby told AP that Texas and Oklahoma have been working on a move to the SEC for months, doing so while taking part in Big 12 strategy meetings where proprietary information was shared.

Bowlsby said he suspects ESPN was involved behind the scenes when Texas and Oklahoma were in discussions with the SEC, but he has no proof of that.

"This whole thing has been a complete articulation of deception," he said.

SEC university presidents and chancellors are scheduled to meet tomorrow, but it is unclear if they will vote on extending invitations to the conference to Oklahoma and Texas. SEC bylaws state 11 of the 14 members would need to vote in favor of inviting a new member, and it appears that won't be a problem.

Texas A&M officials had voiced their displeasure last week with the possibility of rival Texas joining the SEC, but A&M's board of regents on Wednesday directed university president Katherine Banks to vote in favor of the Longhorns and Sooners coming aboard.

SEC presidents expected to vote Thursday on Texas, OU joining the conference 28 July, 2021 - 10:48am

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DALLAS — Southeastern Conference university presidents are expected to vote Thursday on whether to allow the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma in the SEC, sources confirmed to WFAA.

The process for Texas and OU leaving the Big 12 for the SEC has moved rapidly over the last week, from initial reports of their interest to confirmation from both schools that they intend to join the SEC.

According to SEC bylaws, Texas and OU would need at least 11 SEC presidents to approve their move to the conference.

The presidents of Texas and OU on Tuesday sent a letter to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, formally asking for membership to the conference beginning in 2025.

#BREAKING: The presidents from the 14 universities of the @SEC will vote *tomorrow* on whether to allow @TexasLonghorns and @UofOklahoma to join. This is now moving at a rapid pace.

The two rivals on Monday had informed the Big 12 that they did not intend to renew their media rights with the conference when those rights expire in 2025, formally setting in motion their move to the SEC.

SEC officials also released a statement Tuesday, acknowledging the requests from Texas and Oklahoma.

"While the SEC has not proactively sought new members, we will pursue significant change when there is a clear consensus among our members that such actions will further enrich the experiences of our student-athletes and lead to greater academic and athletic achievement across our campuses," the SEC statement said. 

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby on Tuesday said the conference will "face the challenges head-on" and that it's confident the Big 12 will remain "vibrant and successful" moving forward.

As WFAA first reported last week, Texas and OU were expected to contact the SEC and apply for acceptance. It will be up to the university presidents of the 14 schools in the SEC to vote on whether to admit Texas and OU.

If accepted, the SEC would become the first 16-team mega league, and a model for the future of college football.

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