Could the Temple Owls be the Big East‘s tenth football member? Recruits in new head coach Steve Addazio’s Class of 2012 seem to believe so, and that would be a remarkable twist to the developments.
Temple Football Forever was the first to shed light on the news that some of Temple’s recruits for the next recruiting class were hinting that the Owls are preparing for a return to the Big East, the conference that banished them less than a decade ago. Due to a failure to field a competitive program the rest of the Big East held a vote to determine whether or not it was worth keeping Temple as a football-only member. The Owls then went the independent route while searching for a new home, which eventually came with an invitation from the MAC, Temple’s current conference home.
“One of the recruits flat-out said that the Temple coaches have told him that the school is going to be playing in the Big East soon,” writes Mike Gibson of Temple Football Forever, referring to recruit Tavon Young’s father.
“Tavon has committed to Temple,” said Mr. Young. “First and foremost is the academics and they pass with flying colors. He has always loved the staff that came up from Florida. He likes the defensive scheme. It is close to home and he will be a part of the Big East in 2012.”
Tanner Kearns, a tight end targeted early by Addazio, echoed this Big East sentiment two weeks ago according to the story on Temple Football Forever. “I got to meet their coach and like him. I know they play in [Lincoln Financial Field] and plan on moving to the Big East soon,” Gibson quotes tight end recruit Tanner Kearns.
The Orlando Sentinel also quoted linebacker Michael Kalaman in saying something along the same lines.
“I am really excited about being coached under new head coach Steve Addazio, as well as the other coaches he brought along,” Kalaman said. “Temple will hopefully be moving back to the Big East by the time I get there in 2012. I believe they are on the verge of excellent things with their football program.”
So the question is whether or not the new Temple coaching staff knows something, or if they are blowing smoke in the face of recruits in order to get them excited about joining.
Temple does have a number of factors in their favor in the Big East expansion process, especially compared to Villanova. The Owls already play in an NFL stadium, Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia Eagles), which seems to be one of the major sticking points against Villanova. The Wildcats are looking to play home football games in PPL Park, a considerably smaller Major League Soccer stadium (Philadelphia Union) that needs to undergo expansion just to get over 30,000 seats. Lincoln Financial Field, which already has space dedicated for Temple football, seats more than twice that expanded figure. Temple and Villanova each would bring in a Philadelphia market-base although historically Philadelphia television has struggled in the college football world and when it does do well Penn State and Notre Dame dominate it.
There is a tad inaccuracy with some of these quotes. Temple is not allowed to join the Big East in 2012 because the deadline to make that decision passed on Friday. In order to join a new conference the paperwork must be completed by July 1 the year prior to a move. Yesterday’s changes in college athletics were confirmed before July 1, 2010, making Nebraska’s move to the Big Ten, Colorado and Utah’s move to the Pac-12 and more possible. TCU will join the Big East in 2012, a decision that was made after July 1, 2010.
The MAC may also have a role in delaying any possible moves by Temple. Temple’s current contract with the conference expires at the end of the 2011 season, as Brian Ewart of VUHoops.com points out. Temple is an associate member of the conference and details about their contract with the MAC are mostly unknown. But UMass had their contract details revealed and it might indicate some of the particulars in Temple’s deal as well. According to VUHoops.com, UMass is required to pay the MAC a $2.5 million buyout fee if it decides to move to another FBS conference. Similar totals could be in Temple’s contract.
“Second, they must provide the conference with notice of withdrawal at least two football seasons prior to doing so,” VUHoops.com reports. “Third, they would not be entitled to any conference revenue distribution in the season immediately prior to withdrawal.”
What’s more, part of the process of bringing UMass to the MAC seems to have needed to agree on a contract extension of sorts with Temple. With UMass ready to join the conference in 2012 the assumption is that Temple’s contract was extended, but for how long?
Regardless, a two-year minimum to remain in the conference before leaving ensures Temple is not going anywhere until 2013 at the earliest. Also remember that Temple has not been officially extended an invitation. Nobody has.
And so the saga continues in the Big East.
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