Temple board of trustees meet Wednesday to discuss Big East contingency plans

Posted: February 29, 2012

The board of trustees of Temple University will meet Wednesday via a conference call to decide if it wants to accept an offer to join the Big East Conference - if an offer is made.

According to reports, discussions between the Big East and Temple regarding the Owls' joining the conference, possibly for all sports, are hitting the final stages.

Assuming Temple receives and accepts an invitation, the school would have to quickly negotiate exit fees from their present conference memberships.

Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw would not discuss the matter. "It's our policy to not comment on anything other than our conferences," he said.

The Owls are members of the Mid-American Conference for football and the Atlantic Ten Conference for all other sports.

The MAC has a $2.5 million fee for an exit with two years' notice. So Temple would have to negotiate for an immediate exit similar to West Virginia's from the Big East.

The conference agreed to accept nearly $20 million from West Virginia so the school could join the Big 12 as a full member in July.

With West Virginia's departure, the Big East has only seven football teams in 2012. That's why it's important for the conference to add a football member as soon as possible.

"This is driven by the 2012 football schedule," Patrick J. O'Connor, chairman of Temple's board of trustees, told CSNPHILLY.com regarding the meeting. "Because of that, decisions have to be made. There are time considerations."

If Temple does go for all sports, it could be next season, 2013 or 2014 when they would be competing. The A-10's exit fee reportedly is $2 million with one year's notice.

"The board's job is to make a decision that impacts all of Temple's students," O'Connor told CSNPHILLY.com. "It will affect where we are [regarding athletics] over the next five to 10 years. It's a matter of where we want to be.

"We have two world-class coaches in football and men's basketball, and they belong on a national stage," said O'Connor, referring to football coach Steve Addazio and basketball coach Fran Dunphy.

Temple's 23d-ranked men's basketball team is expected to make its fifth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance next month. Meanwhile, the football team is coming off a 9-4 record and a 37-15 victory over Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl in Addazio's first season at Temple. It was the Owls second bowl appearance in three seasons.

Contact Keith Pompey at 215-854-2939, kpompey@phillynews.com, or @pompeysgridlock on Twitter. Read his blog, "Owls Inq," at www.philly.com/owlsinq

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