Dan Dakich, whose relationship with ESPN came under criticism and scrutiny this past winter, revealed that he has decided to no longer call college basketball games for the network and will join Outkick to host a new two-hour show.
According to Barrett Sports Media, Dakich revealed the move on Outkick 360 as well as saying that by deciding not to call games for ESPN, it “was as much my choice as their choice.” Dakich’s new show, Sack Up with Dan Dakich, will air from 9-11 a.m. ET weekdays starting next month. Dakich also commented that he found his game assignments to not be what he thought they should be.
“I had everyone of my bosses at ESPN tell me ‘you are the best guy we have at ESPN, period.’ And I am like ‘Okay, then why am I not doing North Carolina/Duke’ or ‘Why am I getting bumped by Vitale and Bilas to do the Indiana/Purdue game? It’s a big game.’ It’s not a meritocracy and I like meritocracy.”
The status of Dakich’s Indianapolis based radio show is currently unknown, and Dakich hasn’t to our knowledge tipped his hand there yet. Given there won’t be a timing conflict between his new Outkick show and his Indy radio show, it’ll be possible for him to do both which might end up being the case given Dakich’s show does very well ratings-wise throughout Indiana. While Dakich show is a popular draw, he hasn’t exactly been incident free there as Dakich was suspended from his radio show for “a failure on Dan’s part to adhere to the journalistic principles” for on air comments he made back in 2018.
Given the uproar Dakich found himself earlier this year, this seems like a good fit given Outkick’s DNA is rooted in mixing sports with conservative political discourse. Dakich strongly hinted at that saying “I don’t mind talking politics. I don’t mind talking about things that maybe ESPN didn’t necessarily want me talking about.”
It also appears that Dakich has returned to Twitter, even though it hasn’t yet been confirmed that’s his account. In February, Dakich deleted his Twitter account after a heated discussion resulted in him making misogynistic comments and doxing a professor on his radio show. Previous to that incident, Dakich was well known for searching his name on Twitter and engaging and often arguing with critics of his.
It seemed Dakich was on thin ice this past spring at ESPN, but ultimately returned to calling college games and even did a few TBT games this summer. Ultimately he and ESPN felt it was a good time to wind down the relationship, which probably made sense for both parties. Earlier this year, Ben Koo summarized the conflict ESPN was managing in having two very different versions of Dakich in the sports media world.
“At the heart of the issue is the idea that ESPN can seemingly look past what Dakich says online and on his radio show, and continue to employ him as a national college basketball analyst. While an acquired taste on television for some (or perhaps many), the overall amount of criticism he has faced (which is consistent and significant) has largely been because of comments he’s made either on Twitter or on his radio show. This isn’t a problem specific to Dakich and ESPN, as FS1 (among other networks) walks this tight rope particularly often, with many personalities being far more controversial online or on radio than on television.”
ESPN no longer has the job of massaging and spinning that inbound criticism Dakich draws for his radio and online comments and Dakich is now free to dive head first more freely into topics that likely would have gotten him into hot water at ESPN. Sometimes these things work themselves out without anyone having to get fired which is nice to see for change.