ESPN is now in the middle of a massive sports scandal.
The backroom dealings just blew up.
And ESPN could have a major legal problem on its hands after receiving this letter.
College Football juggernauts Oklahoma and Texas stunned the sports world by announcing they were leaving the Big 12 to join the powerhouse Southeastern Conference in 2025.
ESPN just signed a massive $3 billion TV deal with the SEC that starts in 2024, and many suspect ESPN brokered that agreement with the knowledge that Oklahoma and Texas – with their massive fan bases and national footprints – were on the way to create marquee made-for-TV games against Florida, Georgia, Alabama, LSU, and other top SEC programs.
Now the Big 12 is accusing ESPN of trying to pick the bones of the remaining eight teams in the league by secretly brokering deals to move them to other conferences that ESPN holds the broadcast rights for.
The league sent a cease and desist letter accusing the network of tortious interference – interfering in the league’s ability to conduct business – for contacting at least one remaining Big 12 school about moving to another conference.
.@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
In 2010 and 2011, college football saw a massive realignment as the sport moved away from the Bowl Championship series and toward the four-team college football playoff.
Now that the power five conferences – the Big 12, Big 10, Pac 12, SEC, and ACC – appear ready to expand the playoff to 12 teams, the sport is set for another round of conference realignment.
In the last round of realignment, the power six conferences contracted to the power five as the Big East collapsed when Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Boston College and Virginia Tech joined the ACC and Rutgers moved to the Big 10.
Now this round looks like the remaining power four leagues will cannibalize the Big 12.
Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date on any new developments in this ongoing story.