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Kansas senator calls on DOJ to analyze position ESPN performed in Texas, Oklahoma transfer to SEC

A senator from Kansas referred to as on the Division of Justice (DOJ) to analyze the alleged position that ESPN could have performed within the College of Texas’ (UT) and the College of Oklahoma’s (OU) determination to maneuver from the Huge 12 Convention to the Southeastern Convention (SEC).

Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, despatched a letter to Lawyer Common Merrick Garland on Wednesday elevating issues about ESPN’s position in UT’s and OU’s convention shift out of the Huge 12.

Marshall famous that the colleges have been invited by the SEC to affix after saying that they “don’t intend to resume their contract with the Huge 12 convention,” and highlighted the “much less obvious” allegations that ESPN “is encouraging and dealing to make sure this transfer happens.”


The Kansas senator pointed to information studies that illustrated the Huge 12 had proof of manipulation by ESPN and commented that Huge 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby “even despatched a cease-and-desist letter” to the community accusing them of making an attempt to poach groups for the SEC.

Moreover, the senator wrote that the commissioner is claiming ESPN has spoken to at the very least one different convention about including the departing members of the Huge XII convention.

“One other article studies that ESPN acquired the prized SEC on CBS bundle, giving them 100 % of the SEC’s tv rights,’” Marshall wrote, citing a report on the matter. “As a result of they’ve the tv rights to the SEC they’ll profit from the additions of Texas and Oklahoma immensely.”

“Conveniently, the ESPN-SEC deal begins in 2024 and their contract expires with the Huge XII solely a 12 months later when the groups are slated to affix the SEC,” Marshall added.

The Republican senator wrote that, whereas he doesn’t know the phrases of the contract, “the U.S. Supreme Courtroom has determined that the unique proper to televise all league video games is a violation of anti-trust legal guidelines.”

He additionally added that laws beforehand “handed to overturn this determination for skilled soccer” didn’t apply to school ball and, subsequently, don’t obtain the anti-trust exemption.

“I write in the present day to ask that the DOJ examine ESPN’s position within the potential destruction of the Huge XII Convention and if any anti-competitive or unlawful habits occurred referring to manipulating the convention change or ESPN’s contractual tv rights,” Marshall concluded.

In a Friday electronic mail, a spokesperson for ESPN pointed Fox Information to a letter despatched by the corporate’s president of programming and authentic content material Burke Magnus to Bowlsby after his accusations, saying they’re “with out advantage” and that the Huge 12 commissioner’s letter consisted “fully of unsubstantiated speculations and authorized conclusions.”

“To be clear, ESPN has engaged in no wrongful conduct and, thus, there’s nothing to ‘stop and desist,’” Burke wrote. “We belief this can put the matter to relaxation.”

The spokesperson additionally pointed Fox Information in the direction of feedback from Jay Hartzell, the president of UT, who advised the Texas Senate “completely, categorically, no” when requested if Texas had conversations with ESPN through the convention realignment course of. 

ESPN additionally pointed to feedback made by American Athletic Convention Commissioner Mike Aresco denying plotting with ESPN to poach Huge 12 groups.

“Whereas ESPN is a valued accomplice, I’ve to take a second to deal with some accusations which have been made up both immediately or not directly towards our convention,” Aresco stated at a press convention on Wednesday.

“Our convention — and I say this categorically — our convention has by no means strategically aligned or plotted with ESPN to affect convention constructions. We wouldn’t try this. ESPN has by no means completed that and wouldn’t do it,” he continued. “Any ideas or statements that we colluded with ESPN with regard to the construction of another convention, because it’s a very unfounded and grossly irresponsible accusation.”


UT and OU introduced final week that they’d permit their contracts with the Huge XII to run out by 2024 and transfer to the SEC by 2025.

DOJ didn’t reply to Fox Information’ request for remark.

Houston Keene is a reporter for Fox Information Digital. Yow will discover him on Twitter at @HoustonKeene.

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