Bottom line. My line VPs will not take my case forward because it is weak in their opinion due to my division's opinion that only a person clearly demonstrating himself as an executive would be under consideration. And since I have not had that level of exposure, the point is moot.
On the bright side, my VP offered me a new job reporting to him and leading a highly visible project. So, provided that goes well, I hope they will have a different opinion of me next year.
I still have the GMAT on August 7, and those scores are good for 5 years. I have the campus visit and interview this Friday. If, come January, I still have fire in my belly for the MBA, then I will consider applying into the last round (due Jan 15). I then may inquire again about sponsorship, or perhaps I will strike it rich by then and can pay my own way. I think the odds are slim that I would get company sponsorship AND be in a position to start in 2010. But maybe I'm just not patient enough.