Temple denies Big East move reports

Posted: March 03, 2012

Multiple Big East Conference and Temple sources have denied a CBSSports.com report that Temple has given an oral agreement to join the conference in 2012. But there won't be an official announcement until the Owls reach a settlement with the Mid-American Conference. The website added the Big East wants to announce Temple's addition by Monday.

"There is no verbal commitment, no written commitment and no oral commitment," Patrick J. O'Connor, chairman of Temple's board of trustees, told csnphilly.com. "We are still evaluating. That is a fact."

Football will still be at the top of the agenda at Wednesday's regularly scheduled meeting of Big East presidents in New York, according to Big East sources.

It is unclear whether the presidents will vote at that time on Temple's membership in the conference. Big East presidents always meet at the men's basketball tournament, which will take place at Madison Square Garden.

The conference needs an eighth football member for next season because West Virginia left for the Big 12. Assuming Temple receives and accepts an invitation, the school would have to quickly negotiate exit fees.

The Owls are members of the MAC 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 try to negotiate an immediate exit similar to West Virginia's from the Big East.

Temple's board of trustees met three days ago to discuss how it would pay required fees.

"Temple is still evaluating what's best for Temple," O'Connor told csnphilly.com.

Contact Keith Pompey at 215-854-2939 or at kpompey@phillynews.com. Follow him @pompeysgridlock on Twitter. Read his blog at www.philly.com/OwlsInq


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