Another Kansas Senator Wants To Know If ESPN Is Pulling Strings On College Conference Realignments

The Senate can investigate anything.

Jerry Moran is not happy with the direction of college football these days. Conference realignments are bothering him. Who is Jerry Moran? Kansas Senator Jerry Moran and he has asked the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to hold a hearing about college conference realignment’s impact on the “state of competitiveness within college athletics.” Moran also wants to know more about the role played by broadcast companies in the realignment. In other words, did the Walt Disney Company’s ESPN unit help pull Oklahoma and Texas out of the Big 12 into the Southeastern Conference? It should be noted that the SEC Network is a joint project of the Walt Disney Company’s ESPN and the Southeastern Conference. It should also be noted that Kansas Senator Jerry Moran is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law and that the University of Kansas is part of the Big 12 Conference. The Big 12 just lost Oklahoma and Texas to the Southeastern Conference. Another Big 12 school, Kansas State is located in Kansas. Senator Moran is concerned because if the Big 12 falls apart, it could have a “severe economic impact” on college towns like Lawrence, the home of the University of Kansas, and Manhattan, the home of Kansas State University.

In July, the other Kansas Senator Roger Marshall was curious. Did the Walt Disney Company’s ESPN have anything to do with the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma leaving the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference? Marshall sent a letter to the United States Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department wanting them to check out the reasons the two schools left. Marshall thought ESPN would directly benefit from both programs being in the SEC because it holds the television rights for the SEC. College sports is just a business.

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SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey speaks to reporters during the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days Monday, July 19, 2021, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)