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The Big 12, out of options, threatens ESPN with legal action. It’s too late.

The remaining eight teams in the Big 12 will be fine, because their Dad is a judge I guess?

Bob Bowlsby, the Big 12 Commissioner, talks to the media as he announces that fans will not be allowed to attend the Big 12 Basketball Tournament due to the coronavirus staring on Thursday at Sprint Center on March 11, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. Fans will be allowed to attend today’s first round games. Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Update 7:38 p.m. The school most likely to oppose SEC expansion, Texas A&M, just had their Board of Regents sign off on Texas and Oklahoma joining the league.

It’s over, and Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC is happening. The only thing left is the exit negotiations, and it’s clear Bob Bowlsby and the Big 12 intend to make that as painful as possible.

Update 6:36 p.m. The American Athletic Conference was plotting with ESPN to raid the best teams left in the Big 12?? Melting some caramel for all this popcorn we’re about to be eating over the next few days!

Update 6:25 p.m. Here’s the letter. The Big 12 is going to the mattresses against Disney. This is a bombshell.

Money quotes

“The Big 12 Conference demands that ESPN immediately cease and desist 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 NCAA conference regarding the Big 12 conference’s members, possible conference realignment or potential financial incentive or outcomes related to possible conference realignment.”

“I am aware that ESPN has also been actively engaged in discussions with at least one other conference regarding that conference inducing additional members of the Big 12 Conference to leave.”


Today the Big 12 Conference told their longtime media partner, the most important entity in college sports, that they’re related to all the cops and judges in town. And you better watch out, Bristol, because you’re not going to get away with this!

So the Big 12, once a proud FBS power conference in the middle of the country that actually had 12 members, has now resorted to idle threats against one of the media conglomerates that gift them with tens of millions of dollars per school per year. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for them.

We’ll post the complete contents of the letter when it leaks, but suffice it to say that real “HIS FATHER IS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY” energy probably won’t go well against the Walt Disney Company that has more attorneys on retainer than all of the law schools in the league combined.

Keep in mind this is the same conference which once paraded plenty of proud institutions for a dog and pony show to consider expansion, publicly having them grovel for a seat at the Power Five table .. and then selected none of them. So it’s not like they have a history of best practices, but directly biting the hand that literally feeds the league instead of working with them seems, uh, shortsighted at best??

Commissioner Bob Bowlsby is a proud man that has done plenty of good for the Big 12 Conference and college sports in general. How is he letting this happen?