The Southeastern Conference, after mulling over Texas A&M parading around the bar with a high cut dress, tons of cleavage and a sign that said "take me to bed or lose me forever" taped to its back, put the whole conference realignment on hold...for now.
University of Florida President Bernie Machen, the chairman of the Southeastern Conference's presidents and chancellors committee, said the group met Sunday and "reaffirmed our satisfaction with the present 12 institutional alignment."
Machen said no action was taken regarding Texas A&M or any other schools. He didn't, however, close the door on change.
By no means is conference realignment dead, it will just be pushed to the background at least until another conference takes the issue up again.
As best as I can tell(based on my reading of various articles and my Twitter feed) this is what happened.
Texas A&M for a cornucopia of reasons, approached the SEC about leaving the Big 12. How much of this went on at the official level versus the "almost a done deal" rumor mongering to make their intentions known is anyone's guess. I assume there were official overtures of sorts but it appears to have been one sided from A&M's direction.
The SEC, who will eventually expand and likely take A&M in a heartbeat was probably caught by surprise to a certain extent. Not so much by the actual move by A&M but rather the timing. April is not August is the season of conference realignment making the move coming on the eve of the college football season a bit odd. If this were a vacuum and it was simply a matter of taking A&M, I imaging the SEC does it. However that was not the only consideration on the table. The question of whether the SEC should be a 13, 14 or 16 team league was likely bantered around. Or perhaps that decision has already been made but the SEC doesn't know which schools they want to fill out those numbers.
Essentially, the SEC is simply not prepared or does not know who, right now, they want beyond the Aggies. Even if they did the timing and execution of these moves right now might be tad tricky. The SEC doesn't want to run this like a Lee Fowler coaching search and simply make offers left and right without knowing what the answer might be. Not to mention there are various processes and procedures the SEC or any conference uses for this including basic discussions among school administrations and athletic directors to map out where they should go. This isn't like asking the kind down the street to join your treehouse club. Granted, the SEC probably has some sort of rapid response expansion plan should it become evident a major shift is about to happen but this situation hardly seems to breed that urgency. Plus, I also think the SEC might not totally appreciate A&M forcing the issue like this. The SEC would prefer to go about this at the pace they think it best for the league not because A&M is pissed off at Dan Bebee and Texas.
The SEC is in the catbird seat. They can afford to bide their time and because A&M is clearly so desperate to leave the Big 12 with the SEC being the only natural and realistic destination. From the SEC's perspective it is better to get some sort of expansion plan in place keyed on A&M. In other words they need to figure out who the additional teams besides A&M might be and the best timing to go about executing that plan. Until that happens we will all wait.
Or will we? If you are Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney or ACC commissioner John Swofford, do you simply sit back or do you put together your own plan to keep you conference viable? This is a more pertinent question for Swofford than Delaney. The Big Ten will be one of the so-called super conferences if it comes to that as will the SEC and Pac 12. The question is who the fourth might be? Certain the ACC has a shot at being that but it must keep the current roster of schools intact and make moves to add more members who will accentuate the league. By being proactive, Swofford could signal to any current ACC schools who might be enticed by an SEC or Big Ten invite that moves are being made to improve the league.
The last thing the ACC wants is to have multiple conference expansion dominoes start to fall, act too late and be staring at oblivion when the music finally stops.