In a surprising decision released Sunday afternoon following the meeting of SEC presidents earlier in the day, the league opted to pass on extending an official invitation for Texas A&M for the moment, seemingly tabling expansion talks and forcing the Aggies to remain in the Big 12.
Here's the statement from Dr. Bernie Machen, Chair of the SEC presidents and chancellors:
The SEC Presidents and Chancellors met today and reaffirmed our satisfaction with the present 12 institutional alignment. We recognize, however, that future conditions may make it advantageous to expand the number of institutions in the league. We discussed criteria and process associated with expansion. No action was taken with respect to any institution including Texas A&M.
While the statement is somewhat ambiguous in that it does not rule out future expansion, it does seem to end talk of an imminent move of Texas A&M, preserving the Big 12 as currently constituted. For now, at least. It may be that the SEC simply needs to resolve the issues of finding another team to expand the league to 14 schools and avoid any lawsuits stemming from tortious interference with the Big 12's television contract. Rather than not wanting the Aggies in the league, this could be a decision made by the lawyers.
Either way, it looks bad on the Aggies, who now have to attempt to rebuild their relationship with the Big 12. Or simply make the first move on Monday to relieve the SEC of the responsibility of leaving the Big 12 behind.