Temple has given the Big East a verbal agreement it will join the league in 2012, but an official announcement can not be made until the Owls finalize their settlement to leave the Mid-American Conference, sources told CBSSports.com.
The Big East wants to make the announcement that Temple is joining by Monday so it won’t conflict with the Big East men’s basketball tournament, which starts Tuesday in New York. Whether it will happen that quickly depends on the Owls’ negotiations with the MAC.
The MAC’s exit fee is $2.5 million for schools that provide two years notice. However, there is no specific penalty for a school leaving with less than two years notice, a source told CBSSports.com.
Temple was a Big East football-only member from 1991-2004 and the plan was for Temple to join the Big East in all sports in 2012. The Owls' football program competes in the MAC and their Olympic sports are in the Atlantic 10 Conference. To leave the Atlantic 10 with less than a year’s notice costs $2 million, a source said, while it’s $1 million if more than a year’s notice is given.
Because of the difference in exit fees Temple would pay the A-10, there remains a possibility Temple could join the Big East in football this fall, but its Olympic sports wouldn’t join the Big East until 2013.
MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher and Big East commissioner John Marinatto declined comment.
The reason the Big East needs Temple in its football league this fall is to replace West Virginia, which left for the Big 12, on the conference schedule. Without West Virginia, the Big East would have only seven league members and six conference games. With Temple, it will have eight schools and seven league games.
On Friday, Syracuse released its complete five-game non-conference schedule. The Big East has told league schools that they will play seven conference games, meaning an additional member would be added for this fall.
“The Big East has to assist us with that (seventh) conference game, whatever that is,” Syracuse said deputy athletic director Herman Frazier told the Syracuse Post-Standard.
Frazier told the Post-Standard he expects the Big East to make an announcement in the next seven to 10 days.
However, it will happen much quicker if the Owls can hammer out a settlement with the MAC.
Temple’s Board of Trustees met on Wednesday to discuss the Owls’ “contracts,” the Temple News reported.