Temple to Big East? Negotiations are ongoing

Temple to Big East? Negotiations are ongoing
March 1, 2012, 2:05 pm
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Despite optimism that Temple could be announcing a decision to join the Big East very soon, there has been no resolution to the situation.

The Executive Committee of Temples Board of Trustees Wednesday conducted what Chairman Patrick J. OConnor characterized as a long meeting that ended with no resolution.

We are still in negotiations, OConnor said. Were going to do whats best for Temple.

One way to interpret that statement is that the Board is trying to mitigate the financial commitment the school must make to extricate itself from current affiliations with the Mid-American Conference (football) and Atlantic 10 (all other sports).

The MAC stipulates that departing teams must pay 2.5 million and wait two years, according to league spokesman Ken Mather. If a member tries to get out sooner, it must negotiate a premium payment, Mather said. That is likely one of the factors holding up Temples ability to announce Big East membership, since it has been reported that Temple and the conference are interested in the Owls becoming football members for the 2012 season.

The MAC is unhappy with the timing of the situation, since it cannot release its football schedule, which is ready to go, according to Mather. The past two years, the MAC has announced its schedule on February 28 and March 1. By leaving, Temple would cause a complete reshuffling of the games, and in some cases, force schools to find other opponents, something that wont be easy to accomplish at this late date in the process.

Although its highly unlikely the Owls will have to pay close to the 20 million it took for West Virginia to leave the Big East for the Big 12, or even the 12.41 million Texas A&M and Missouri are shelling out to bolt the Big 12 early for the SEC, any cost incurred would be unpopular with some university constituencies, especially in light of looming state funding cuts. For now, the Owls continue to consider their options.

The next steps are that we are still in negotiations, OConnor said. When we have something, we will make an announcement.