Temple’s football program is returning to the Big East this fall, sources told CBSSports.com.
The Big East’s presidents voted Wednesday morning to add the Owls as all-sports members, but only Temple’s football program will join in 2012. The Owls’ Olympic sports won’t join the Big East until a year later for the 2013-14 school year.
The Big East officially announced Temple's move in a Wednesday press conference.A source told CBSSports.com that the Big East will pay for the Owls' $7 million in exit fees. Temple must pay the Mid-American Conference $6 million and the Atlantic 10 $1 million.
Temple was an original member of the Big East’s football conference from 1991-2004 until it was dismissed from the league for not being competitive and unable to meet certain financial requirements.
The Big East already had received a commitment from Temple that the Owls would join the Big East in football in 2012, sources told CBSSports.com last week. But the Big East had its presidents formally rubberstamp it in Wednesday’s meeting in New York.
After Temple’s dismissal from the Big East, the Owls were an independent for two seasons before joining the Mid-American Conference in 2007. Temple will pay the MAC $6 million to leave with less than one year's notice. The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported that amount, which is more than double what MAC by-laws require teams to pay ($2.5 million) with two year’s notice.Temple also must pay the Atlantic 10, where its Olympic sports compete, $1 million to leave after next season. It would have cost $2 million to leave before this season.
The addition of Temple was crucial for the Big East which needed an eighth football program to replace West Virginia, which joins the Big 12 this summer. Without West Virginia, the Big East’s teams would have had only six conference games each. With Temple, each Big East team will have seven league games – as it has since 2005.
If the Owls take West Virginia’s place on the Big East schedule, the Owls will have Big East home games against Syracuse, Rutgers, Cincinnati and South Florida and league road games at UConn, Pittsburgh and Louisville. The Big East's football schedule should be released in the coming days.
The Big East initially wanted Boise State, which will join the league in 2013, to join the Big East in 2012. However, the Broncos could not afford to pay the approximate $10 million in exit fees to leave the Mountain West and WAC early and the Big East was not willing to pay for the Broncos’ early move, sources told CBSSports.com.
The addition of Temple, which shares its home stadium at Lincoln Financial Field with the Philadelphia Eagles, gives the Big East three teams that play their home games in an NFL stadium. The others are Pittsburgh/Pittsburgh Steelers and South Florida/Tampa Bay Bucs.
With Temple on board in 2012, the Big East’s football membership this fall will consist of Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Florida, Syracuse and Temple. The 15-team basketball membership in 2012-13 will consist of: Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Florida, Syracuse, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova.
The reason Temple's Olympic sports didn't join the Big East until 2013 was for logistical reasons.
"We're using the current year as a transition year in order to analyze what we can by hiring a consultant to explore how we can best exploit the marketplace moving forward," Big East commissioner John Marinatto said. "And as I said earlier, to retain each school's individual identity, a brand that Villanova has worked on for over three decades with the Big East and how to incorporate and associate that with Temple.
"So for the next 12 months, what we're going to do is with the two institutions, the conference's initiative, explore how we best move forward in order to ensure that we accomplish that because it's in the best interest of the conference obviously for the two schools to coexist in a very, very positive way, and one of the things we want to do is ensure that's the case by doing this."
The league will look much different in the 2013-14 school year. The football league could consist of up to 14 schools: Boise State, Cincinnati, UConn, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, San Diego State, SMU, South Florida, Syracuse, Temple and UCF. However, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, who are scheduled to leave for the ACC in 2014, want to exit the Big East in 2013. If they do leave early, it would drop the football membership to 12 schools.
If Pittsburgh and Syracuse remain in the Big East until 2014, the Big East's basketball league in 2013-14 would consist of 20 teams: Cincinnati, UConn, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Florida, SMU, Syracuse, Temple, UCF, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova. That number would be reduced to 18 basketball members if Pittsburgh and Syracuse left early.
Also, Navy will join the Big East as a football-only member in 2015.