The Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners announced back in the summer of 2020 that they intended to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC. The timetable was always unclear. It is widely believed that the two schools wouldn’t be able to leave the Big 12 until the league’s current television contracts with FOX and ESPN expire in 2025, but according to Brett McMurphy, the Worldwide Leader in Sports may have the power to move things along a little faster.
Currently, the Big 12 is in a TV contract that runs out in 2025. While Texas and Oklahoma did agree to the terms of a new deal, which will run through 2031, it is with the understanding that those two teams will not be in the league when the new deal begins. To leave before 2025 would mean that the teams devalue the current contract. That is why the conference is not making it easy for the Sooners and Longhorns to leave.
“ESPN has all the keys to the castle for this to happen,” a source told McMurphy.
Not only would ESPN have to figure out how to compensate the Big 12, but it could be on the hook for a lot more money to the SEC. Beginning in 2024, ESPN and the SEC enter into a 10-year deal worth nearly $300 million. There is a clause in that deal though that would raise the price tag if any new members are added to the conference.
For programming purposes, it makes sense that ESPN would want to see Oklahoma and Texas in the SEC as soon as possible. Financially though, it may not.
The two schools would each have to pay an exit fee. While that price tag sits at $84 million (the sum of the league’s distribution for two years) right now, it is likely to be negotiated down to around $50 million per school.
Would ESPN be willing to shell out $100 million to help the schools foot that bill? Would it be willing to do that if it means the price tag on its new SEC deal goes up? On top of all of that, would the network make those leaps if it knew they would devalue the deal currently in place with the Big 12?
A second source told Brett McMurphy that FOX does not intend to stand in the way of any move and both conferences are eager to get this done and get Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC in time for the 2024 football season. That means that the final decision very well could be ESPN’s.
FOX Sports, Amazon NFL Analyst Richard Sherman Arrested on Suspicion of DUI
The report states there was an “odor of intoxicants” and Sherman’s eyes were bloodshot.
Amazon and FOX Sports NFL Analyst Richard Sherman was arrested on suspicion of DUI early Saturday morning. According to a report, Sherman was stopped by the Washington State Patrol for going 79 mph within a 60 mph zone around 2 a.m. local time in Bellevue.
Sherman was asked if he’d had any alcohol and reportedly told authoirities he had two margaritas. Sherman was also said to have agreed to a voluntary test. The report states there was an “odor of intoxicants” and Sherman’s eyes were bloodshot.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said in a statement that Sherman was expected to have a court hearing Monday.
In 2022, Sherman plead guilty in Seattle to two misdemeanor charges stemming from a drunken driving and domestic disturbance in 2021. He also admitted to a criminal infraction of speeding in a roadway construction zone.
Sherman had an 11-year NFL career, 7 of those with the Seattle Seahawks. He has been working as a member of FS1’s Undisputed and appears on Amazon Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football as a pregame, halftime and postgame analyst. He also hosts a podcast, The Richard Sherman Podcast, in partnership with Colin Cowherd’s The Volume. There has been no word yet on if any of Sherman’s employers or partners will take action as a result of the DUI arrest.
Matt Hutchings Resigns as COO and EVP of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment
“I am grateful for the professional opportunities and thrilling experiences that have come with my time at KSE.”
A big change is taking place in the mile high city. Kroenke Sports and Entertainment‘s top executive Matt Hutchings is moving on. KSE, which owns the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids, Colorado Mammoth, Altitude TV and Altitude Sports Radio will now turn to a new voice to move the company forward.
Hutchings has been a key figure for the company since 2013. He was also involved in management from 2004-2012, taking a one-year detour in between to Houston to serve as president of Comcast Sportsnet Houston.
During his tenure, KSE has been involved in an ongoing battle with Colorado’s largest cable provider, Comcast. The two sides remain in a dispute over carriage fees to air Nuggets and Avalanche games. As a result, local Comcast customers have been unable to watch both teams since 2019. Both the Nuggets and Avalanche have won championships during that period.
In a press release, Hutchings said, “I am grateful for the professional opportunities and thrilling experiences that have come with my time at KSE. We have realized tremendous growth as a company and seen unprecedented success among our teams. I will be watching and cheering KSE on as they continue to lead the way in sports, broadcasting, and entertainment in Colorado and beyond.”
Hutchings was an advocate for moving the company into the local sports radio space. Altitude 950 launched in April 2016, moving to the FM dial at 92.5FM in September 2018. After a slow start, Altitude Sports Radio took the sports radio ratings lead locally in 2023. The company has since utilized 950AM to feature sports betting content from VSiN.
Losing Huchings is a big loss for KSE. How it affects the future in local radio and television remains to be seen. The top priority for the next executive is to make sure the Comcast battle gets handled so Colorado sports fans can regain the ability to watch their favorite teams.
NESN Bruins Announcer Jack Edwards Addresses Speech Slowdown Issues For First Time
“The way I see it, two things work to my disadvantage. The game is speeding up all the time. And I’m slowing down all the time.”
Longtime NESN Boston Bruins play-by-play man Jack Edwards recently spoke to The Boston Globe and addressed an ongoing health issue. While Edwards says he’s been cleared of cancer, dementia, and a stroke, he is still slurring and slowing his words at an increasing rate. Edwards credits it to two primary factors:
“The way I see it, two things work to my disadvantage,” Edwards said to the Boston Globe. “The game is speeding up all the time. And I’m slowing down all the time.”
According to The Globe, this is the first time Edwards has spoken about his struggles publicly, mostly because of the mysticism surrounding his condition. It’s not related to any sort of accident, or serious disease or condition — and doctors have no formal diagnosis or medical term to give him. Edwards says he is in “robust” health and receives “superior” grades on intellect tests. But Edwards still struggles with his speech slowing down.
“It doesn’t fit in any slot,” Edwards said. “There have been a couple of guesses, but they haven’t made a definitive diagnosis and they’ve been working on me for a year and a half. It’s very frustrating, as you can imagine, for me to have this slowdown in my speech.”
At the behest of his daughter, Edwards began speech therapy following his struggle with reading the Declaration of Independence on July 4, something Edwards and his father have done each year. “The Declaration of Independence has quite a few unusual words,” says Edwards, “and a year and a half ago, I couldn’t process the words, and it’s not like it was unfamiliar. I’ve read it for, like, 20 years, 25 years.”
Edwards goes through 40-60 minutes of what he calls “exhaustive and exhausting” speech therapy exercises on non-game days but still finds time to freshen up on game days for about 10 minutes. He’s appreciative of the work his speech therapy team does with him every day.
“I thank all the people who are working on this problem and helping me, and they seem to feel and I anecdotally feel that I’m making incremental progress,” he says. “The brain is a funny thing, especially mine. It is still possible to train a 66½-year-old brain to do the same things you used to do in a different way. And that’s what we’re working on through speech therapy.”
While Edwards is optimistic, he is a realist and is treating his speech issues as an in-season injury. If it gets better, he will continue to serve as the Bruins’ play-by-play voice. If not, he offers the stark reality of his situation. “If I, or NESN, decide that I’m hurting the product or costing the fans an enjoyable experience, I will say goodbye. But we haven’t had any discussions like that.”
Jeff Kotuby is a nationally-published journalist with bylines on many popular broadcasting and pop culture sites, including The Streamable, eBaum’s World, Twin Galaxies, and more. Jeff grew up in the shadows of New York City and cultivated his love for sports media with the classic broadcasting voices of the area, like Mike & The Mad Dog, Mike “Doc” Emerick, and Michael Kay. You can reach Jeff on Twitter @JeffKotu3y.