ESPN responds to Big 12 accusations: 'Nothing to cease and desist'

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The back and forth between ESPN and the Big 12 Conference continues as ESPN responded Thursday to accusations that the network effectively is trying to destroy the 10-team league.

The Big 12 Conference and commissioner Bob Bowlsby sent a "cease and desist" letter to ESPN on Wednesday.

Bowlsby explained his stance to USA TODAY Sports, saying the network is "intentionally interfering with our business operations by encouraging other conferences to poach the members of the Big 12 and providing incentives to them to do so."

ESPN has a deal with the Big 12 that runs through 2025.

“The accusations you have made are entirely without merit,” ESPN president Burke Magnus' letter to Bowlsby said. “Apart from a single vague allegation that ESPN has been ‘actively engaged in discussions with at least one other’ unnamed conference, which ESPN disputes, your letter consists entirely of unsubstantiated speculation and legal conclusions."

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby speaks to reporters during Big 12 media days on July 14, 2021.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby speaks to reporters during Big 12 media days on July 14, 2021.

The SEC presidents voted unanimously Thursday to add Texas and Oklahoma, making it a 16-team league.

“To be clear, ESPN has engaged in no wrongful conduct and, thus, there is nothing to ‘cease and desist', " the letter continued. “We trust this will put the matter to rest. ESPN reserves all rights and remedies in connection with this matter.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ESPN rips Big 12, says accusations are ‘entirely without merit’