In case you missed it, Tyler over at Georgia Sports Blog does as well by Bernie Machen's statement on behalf of SEC Presidents as anyone could.
Machen's succinct statement of the SEC's formal position may be found here and is as delightfully bland as a bowl of shredded wheat and a copy of the Wall Street Journal at 6 a.m. The statement incidentally has the same purpose as said bowl of cardboard briquettes: it's really just all about moving things along. Aesthetics are not a consideration here. It's about wording the thing right so that when it gets marked as "Exhibit 4" during Mike Slive's deposition in the case of The Big XII Conference, on behalf of its constituent member institutions, versus the Southeastern Conference, Texas Agricultural & Mechanical University, and one Collie dog known as "Reveille"*, Slive will be able to say in all seriousness "They approached us, not vice versa."
As I said Saturday night, it would be folly for those of us writing about this to assume that there's some sort of rigid timeline by which this move must get done, and folly of an epic sort to assume that the timeline runs in days or even weeks.
Rather, I think what's happening is that the SEC is using its leverage to move the situation along at the pace which Slive and company would prefer. Think about it. Is the BIG XII going to actually kick Texas A&M out of the conference for its daliance? Of course not. That would allow the gang from College Station to mozie over to the SEC without any penalty and allow the SEC to say "well since they're just standing there on the corner we figured we'd pick them up." There's really no urgency here on the part of the SEC. Texas A&M isn't going to the Big East with TCU. They'll still be just as unhappy with their conference in a couple months, perhaps more so, since Deloss Dodds is probably going to come up with 3-5 ingenious ideas to monetize the Longhorn Network in that time.
With no obvious candidate in the wings to replace A&M, the Big XII would also be jeopardizing its conference championship game and the revenue that goes along with it if they gave A&M an ultimatum. That's certainly an unteneble financial prospect for league presidents. It also raises the question of who the BIG XII would get to replace the Aggies. Certainly there are possibilities, but none of them is going to come together overnight. So even if a majority of Big XII power brokers wanted to dispense with A&M and move on to a less dramatic replacement, they wouldn't be able to do it without facing the same issues of tampering, interference with contract, and bad PR that the SEC has to navigate now, and which forces them to issue tortured statements of disinterest. In short, we've moved incrementally forward, but there's still a long way to go before anything happens, if it happens at all. But it's going to be a fun ride.
Until later . . .
*Let's be honest here. Collies are exceptionally intelligent dogs, more than capable of pulling off a coup-de-etat while graciously accepting belly rubs and liver treats. I wouldn't put it past that furry covert operative to be paw-deep in this mess. She's already spawned "The Office" and "Ugly Betty", so we probably shouldn't put it past her. I mean, it's obvious that the Big XII can't trust anyone else in College Station. Why should the dog be any different?