According to SBNation, in the wake of several reports that Nebraska is a mortal lock to join the Big Ten, the University of Nebraska has decided to walk everybody back. Specifically, the point of contention made by Regents chairman Bob Phares is that the Orangebloods.com report about an eventful conference call was, according to the Lincoln Journal-Star, disputable:
"A report being circulated this afternoon among sports media stating that the University of Nebraska Board of Regents 'met informally' today and have 'agreed to move to the Big Ten' is not accurate. Members of the Board's executive committee met via conference call to discuss the agenda for Friday's meeting. Such meetings routinely take place prior to Board meetings. At its meeting on Friday, the Board will be briefed on UNL athletic conference alignment and consider a resolution. No action was taken during today's conference call, and none will be taken prior to Friday's meeting."
Mr. Phares then took an extra opportunity to enlighten us.
"First of all, there are several factual errors. No. 1, there’s been no vote by the board at all. No. 2, as I understand it, there are no invitations that are extended. You decide if you wish to make an application and then they react to your application.
"And I heard that there were reports that Tom Osborne had advised all of his staff that it was a done deal. You can talk to Tom and see what his comment is. I would be immensely surprised if that was the case, because as I said there’s been no vote by the board and no formal decision."
Well then. Allow us to retort.
The important thing to remember about Phares is that he's the chairman of a board. A very important board, at that. And if you've ever known anybody in charge of a board of directors, you know that they are sticklers to the nth degree about procedure.
So on point 1, he is right. No action has been taken by the Regents, because they're not allowed to take any action like that. Voting happens during official sessions, and that's all. Now, did the Regents come to an informal agreement of sorts during the conference call? Easily possible, and since it's informal, the chairman doesn't have to cop to anything.
And on point 2, again, he's right, but it's merely a matter of procedure. The Nebraska Board of Regents won't be voting on an invitation into the conference. They'll be voting on whether to apply to the Big Ten. Now, has the Big Ten informed Nebraska that the application process will be a mere formality? Of course. That's what gets shortened to "invitation" in these talks, if you're into the whole brevity thing. Semantics? Absolutely. But to Phares, so what if it's semantics?
So kudos to Bob Phares for his A+ effort in obfuscation. Seriously, most men in Phares' position would just offer a "no comment" and get on with their day. Pulling the Full Discredit on procedural grounds, though, that takes skills. See you in the Big Ten on Friday.