Sources: Temple wants in to Big East

Posted: October 05, 2011

TEMPLE, AS presumed, has notified the Big East that it wants to become a member for all sports, sources close to the situation have confirmed. But those people said the university also told the conference it would accept a football-only invitation, if that's what was offered.

On Sunday, the Big East presidents authorized commissioner John Marinatto to "aggressively pursue discussions with a select number of institutions that have indicated a strong interest in joining." Villanova's football program is thought to be part of that group, too. Last April, it was prepared to vote yes to move up a level from FCS, a process that comes with at least a 2-year transitionary period. But at the last minute, the Big East had the vote tabled, and the recent defections of Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the Atlantic Coast Conference have changed the ground rules.

We'll never know how this might have played out, at least for Temple, if Villanova was already in. But it doesn't really matter now. The Wildcats might still get in. Yet it appears there's more interest from the conference in North Broad Street, mostly because it can offer immediate help.

Villanova's president, the Rev. Peter Donohue, has continued to reiterate his university's stance that it is willing to revisit making such a commitment.

Sources said the possibility of Temple and Villanova both playing in Lincoln Financial Field also has been discussed. Temple supposedly has a contract that runs through 2017 and is in fact looking for an extension. Villanova's FBS plans included playing at PPL Park in Chester, home of the MLS Union, which reportedly could be expanded to seat some 30,000.

From Villanova's standpoint, the biggest concern could be how much Temple possibly being in the same conference for basketball might impact its brand.

While Marinatto gave no timetables, sources don't expect anything to happen too quickly. And a lot probably depends on what happens in the Big 12, not to mention whether the Big East wants to add two, three or more.

Other schools apparently being considered are Navy, Air Force (each for football only), Central Florida, Houston and SMU.

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