Entertainment Big 12 Accuses ESPN of Tampering to Get Member Schools to Leave Conference
ESPN Turmoil: Read Key Parts of the Rachel Nichols Conversation That Sparked Backlash
A New York Times report released on Sunday included portions of a leaked July 2020 conversation by ESPN host Rachel Nichols that has led to internal backlash at the sports network and surfaced long-held frustration for the Black women employed there. The conversation between Nichols and LeBron James' longtime advisor Adam Mendelsohn was accidentally recorded by Nichols herself when she forgot to turn her video camera off and was transmitted to ESPN's video servers. In it, Nichols lamented that she had been skipped over to host "NBA Countdown" during last year's NBA Finals and was instead offered a sideline reporter job.
The Big 12 conference has gone scorched earth against one of its media partners, accusing ESPN of tampering to get member schools like Texas and Oklahoma to leave the conference.
In a cease and desist letter sent on Wednesday, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby accused ESPN of not only facilitating the two schools' desire to leave, but that it's been "actively engaged" in "inducing additional members of the Big 12 conference to leave."
"It has come to my direct attention that ESPN, the current business partner of the Big 12 Conference, has taken certain actions that are intended to not only harm the Big 12 Conference, but to result in financial benefits for ESPN," the letter states.
Rachel Nichols’ Show ‘The Jump’ Replaced On ESPN Tuesday Schedule Just Hours Before Start Of NBA Finals
On the day of the start of the NBA Finals, ESPN’s premiere daily NBA show was missing from its schedule. Instead, according to the New York Post, viewers who tuned in at 3 p.m., ET on Tuesday found the two-man team of Jalen & Jacoby, who are usually The Jump‘s lead-in. A subsequent Jump schedule spot on ESPNH2 at 4 p.m., ET was replaced by the network’s Highly Questionable. According to Post media columnist Andrew Marchand, “the plan is to have it on tomorrow.
Earlier this week, two of the conference's biggest schools, Texas and Oklahoma, signaled their intentions to leave the Big 12 for the SEC, which would create a college sports mega-powerhouse conference.
You can read the letter below, courtesy of Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger. A rep for the Big 12 did not immediately respond to TheWrap's request for comment. In a statement emailed to TheWrap, ESPN denied the accusations: "The claims in the letter have no merit."
Rumblingsregarding ESPN's involvement in Oklahoma and Texas' plan to leave the conference for the SEC in the next few years (the two schools made the first formal step earlier this week when they informed the conference they will not be renewing their grants of media rights when they expire in 2025).
An individual with knowledge of the situation was adamant that ESPN had nothing to do with Texas and Oklahoma reaching out to the SEC.
ESPN has a considerable financial stake in the SEC. Not only are the SEC football rights moving from CBS to ESPN beginning with the 2024 season, but ESPN owns the SEC Network (which is itself a joint venture between Disney and Hearts Corporation). ESPN already held rights to other SEC sports including basketball. Additionally, ESPN has an ownership stake in and operates the University of Texas' Longhorn Network.
As for the Big 12, the conference's rights deals with ESPN and Fox expire in 2025.
Comparing Yahoo!, ESPN fantasy football rankings for 2021 to find sleepers, busts .
Fantasy football rankings on sites like ESPN and Yahoo! can vary greatly, so if you play on more than one, you need to study the differences to help put together the proper draft strategy and find sleepers and busts.The constantly updated consensus rankings at Fantasy Pros are a helpful composite, but chances are you will be drafting and playing a lot of fantasy football leagues on either Yahoo! or ESPN. Although Yahoo! defaults to half-point PPR and ESPN goes with standard, there are some intriguing differences between both sites' main rankings, so if you play on both, you must be able to find different sleepers and need to utilize different draft strategies.