Bob Bowlsby and the Big 12 are doubling-down on their allegations.
Bowlsby on Thursday evening fired another verbal salvo at both the Southeastern Conference and ESPN in the wake of the day's earlier news that both the University of Oklahoma and University of Texas had been unanimously approved for future admittance into the SEC.
"Today’s SEC announcement reaffirms that these plans have been in the works,” Bowlsby said in his second strongly worded statement in the past 48 hours, “with ongoing discussions between the parties and television partner for some time.
“We are disappointed these discussions went as far as they did without notice to, or inclusion of, other big 12 members.”
Tuesday, Bowlsby flat-out called ESPN by name and accused the network giant – owned by the Walt Disney Corporation – of having colluded with the SEC, Sooners and Longhorns. Additionally, Bowlsby accused ESPN and president Burke Magnus of tampering with additional Big 12 members in an effort to pry additional member(s) of the conference away for another college league.
Bowlsby then closed his statement with a token comment about preserving the well-being of OU and Texas student-athletes through the remainder of their duration in the Big 12 – and drove home the point that that timeline reflected four more seasons of competition.
Both schools are signed with the league through the 2024-25 athletics calendar, but multiple sources have told FootballScoop this week that both schools have targeted a vastly accelerated timeline to depart the Big 12 and enter the SEC.
“Despite our concerns for the process and for the overall health of college athletics, we will do everything possible to make sure that the student-athletes at both universities enjoy an excellent experience throughout the remaining four years of their participation and competition in the big 12 conference."