(AP) — ESPN responded Thursday to the Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby’s accusations of attempting to destabilize his beleaguered conference by saying it has engaged in no wrongful conduct and “there is nothing to cease and desist.”
“The accusations you made are entirely without merit,” ESPN executive Burke Magnus, president of programming and content, said in a letter to Bowlsby that was released by the network.
The Big 12 sent a cease-and-desist letter to the network a day earlier, alleging ESPN was incentivizing at least one other conference to raid the league in an effort to hasten the departure of Texas and Oklahoma to the Southeastern Conference.
The Longhorns and Sooners earlier this week formally asked to be join the SEC, starting in 2025 when its media rights agreement with the Big 12 expires. An earlier exit could cost Texas and Oklahoma a buyout worth tens of millions of dollars.
SEC presidents were scheduled to meet later Thursday and could vote on whether to extend an invitation to the Big 12’s flagship members.