Big 12 commissioner says ESPN conspired with SEC, AAC
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is blasting ESPN, accusing the Worldwide Leader of conspiring to destabilize the Big 12.
Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports was first to report that the Big 12 sent a cease and desist letter to ESPN about communicating with Big 12 members. The letter had many media outlets reaching out to Bowlsby, who isn’t sugarcoating any of his thoughts.
The cease and desist letter alleges that ESPN “has taken certain actions that are intended to not only harm the Big 12 Conference but to result in financial benefits for ESPN.”
Bowlsby elaborated to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd and David Cobb that he believes the Worldwide Leader was involved in trying to get the AAC to pursue 3-5 other Big 12 members.
“I am absolutely certain ESPN employees have discussed and provided incentives for [the AAC] to raid 3-5 members from the Big 12,” Bowlsby said. “In doing so, they are prepared to reward them with future television proceeds. If the conference goes away as an entity, Oklahoma and Texas could be relieved from their exit obligations. Those obligations at this time would include the payment of $70M to $80M — two years full revenue — per school and leaving their media rights with the Big 12.
“We’re just not going to sit still and let somebody who is supposed to be our partner collaborate and disrupt our business. I know with certainty they are doing it relative to one conference. I suspect they have done the same thing in moving Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC.”
The Big 12 may not be able to survive the latest round of conference realignment but it clearly isn’t going down without a fight.