ESPN pushed back against a cease-and-desist letter from Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby on Thursday, calling Bowlsby's claims "unsubstantiated."
Bowlsby released a letter Wednesday alleging ESPN worked to "destabilize" the Big 12 as Texas and Oklahoma planned an exit for the SEC. Bowlsby's letter added that ESPN has been "involved in manipulating other conferences to go after our members."
"The accusations you have made are entirely without merit," ESPN's letter said Thursday. "To be clear, ESPN has engaged in no wrongful conduct and, thus, there is nothing to 'cease and desist.'"
The Big 12 faces a murky future as Texas and Oklahoma appear headed to the SEC. The two schools submitted formal applications to the SEC on Thursday, and they will be accepted given 75% approval in a conference vote. The SEC is expected to accept Texas and Oklahoma, with even the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents supporting the move.
Texas and Oklahoma are currently set to leave the Big 12 upon the expiration of the conference's television deal in 2025. The two schools could join the SEC sooner if the other Big 12 schools find a new conference or add replacement members.
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