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Updated: Temple officially joins Big East

Bernard Pierce, Deon Miller AP

They’re baaack.

Seven years after being shown the door for poor performance and attendance, and after getting passed over on more than one occasion during the last few months, the Big East has welcomed back Temple with arms opened wide by the force of desperation.

The MAC confirmed this afternoon that Temple would be leaving the conference immediately, but didn’t offer any more details as to where the Owls were going.

It didn’t matter. The Big East announced the move at a press conference this afternoon inside Madison Square Garden for the Big East tournament. The Owls will join the Big East in football this year, with non-football sports joining in 2013.

“On behalf of all of Temple’s 39,000 students, its more than 550 student-athletes, their coaches and the entire Temple family, I would especially like to thank BIG EAST Commissioner John Marinatto and all the presidents and chancellors of the member schools for welcoming us into their midst. Temple is very excited to become a member of the BIG EAST,” said Lewis Katz, the chair of the Athletics Committee of Temple’s Board of Trustees. .

The Temple-to-Big East rumors gained momentum over the past couple of weeks once it became official that West Virginia would be departing for the Big 12 this year, leaving the Big East with just seven football members and as many months to fill another hole in the schedule.

A decision on Temple was reportedly supposed to have been made at the end of last month, but exit terms among the school and its two conferences, the Atlantic 10 and the MAC, appeared to be anything but settled. It wasn’t until University of Houston president Renu Khator tweeted a hint Wednesday morning that the move went from speculatively imminent to actually imminent.

But with the move official, it appears the Big East is done expanding… for now. Commissioner John Marinatto said the league would “pause” on further expansion. It should be noted, however, that the Big East said it would continue to provide Villanova with financial assistance as the school ponders a move to the FBS.

So, yeah. That’s still on the table.

So are discussions with Pitt and Syracuse about the two schools possibly leaving before 2014. When WVU left for the Big 12, it also opened the door to the Panthers and Orange leaving before the 27 month waiting period would allow. It’s believed the two could bolt for the ACC in 2013.

Getting back to Temple, the MAC confirmed in the release today that the school will pay $6 million for immediate departure; it was previously reported that the exit terms would be at least $3.5 million. Also, Temple will reportedly pay $1 million to get out of the Atlantic 10 in 2013. In all, it’s expected that the Big East will pay the $7 million to bring the Owls in as an all-sports member, according to Brett McMurphy of CBSSports. The Temple release says the exit fees will be paid “from added athletics revenues that the school will receive from its new conference.”

As for the MAC, the divisions will align as follows:

East Division:  Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Kent State, UMass, Miami, Ohio
West Division:  Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Toledo, Western Michigan.

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13 Responses to “Updated: Temple officially joins Big East”
  1. fcmlefty1 says: Mar 7, 2012 4:28 PM

    Be interesting to see who the MAC may target to eventually get back to 14. Almost have to think that it would have to be a FCS team – because I sure can’t come up with a FBS team that would seem to fit the bill.

  2. fcmlefty1 says: Mar 7, 2012 5:08 PM

    And, of course, right after I write my first comment, Brett McMurphy tweets a link to his article that says the MAC won’t immediately add a team. I guess they’ve made a 13 team schedule work for the past few years, so they might as well stick with it for now.

    But I still have the gut feeling they’ll eventually accept a 14th team. One of the FCS teams in the Ohio-Illinois-Indiana strip, or one of the bordering states, will eventually want to move up to FBS. Northern Iowa? One of the other Illinois directional schools? North Dakota State? Somebody like that will eventually make the leap and need a home.

  3. timh1955 says: Mar 7, 2012 6:12 PM

    In respect to Big East football, it will now be at same level as the WAC and MWC. Also, they will lose their BCS AQ status at the end of the 2013 season…..and they should lose it.

  4. drummerhoff says: Mar 7, 2012 8:46 PM

    Temple was a ‘have not’ in the MAC and will be a ‘have not’ with the rest of the BigEast.

    The undertone of the recent discussion about conference champions only in plus-one post-season is that the 4 ‘major’ conferences will be competing for national championships.

    Every other conference will be left out.

  5. thegamecocker says: Mar 7, 2012 10:19 PM

    I am thrilled to have Temple back in the Big East! Their academics are solid as are their athletic teams. The Owls are worthy and it will restore GREAT college basketball to Philly. They will compete with ‘Nova, Penn, St. Joe’s, and LaSalle. The Big 5 will rise once again. Rutgers’ will now enjoy a solid rivalry. We don’t need Syracuse and Pitt is just “out there”. Great move Big East! It’s great to have the finest basketball conference in the nation and a competitive football conference! Yipppeee

  6. ningenito78 says: Mar 8, 2012 1:00 AM

    Do you fool pay attention to anything? The next BCS contract will almost definately NOT include an AQ status anymore. That’s gone. Finished. No conference will have AQ status. It’s going to be scrapped all together. I love all the Big East haters piling on while they have no idea what the hell is going on.

  7. timh1955 says: Mar 8, 2012 1:22 AM

    ninegenito78 why don’t you enlighten us since you seem to think you know more than anyone about the BCS.

  8. saabista says: Mar 8, 2012 2:53 AM

    As much as I love weeknight college football MAC-tion…

    I’ve mentioned this before, but the Big East should consider the University of Buffalo as well. It may not be a sexy choice, but it is a smart one: It’s the largest public university in the Northeast (with the attendant alumni numbers), fits nicely in the Big East’s footprint, and its football and basketball teams are competitive, both recently playing in the postseason. As member of the prestigious American Association of Universities, UB is top notch academically– from what I can tell its standards are actually above most, if not all Big East schools currently. And seeing as this is all about the ratings– Buffalo is just outside of being a top 50 media market (#51). That’s just a tick behind Louisville and bigger than Syracuse, Providence, and even Boise. The numbers are there, I’m sure the alumni will support the move, and let’s face it– the Big East doesn’t have a lot of choices left.

  9. wustlumdnj says: Mar 8, 2012 9:03 AM

    Now we have to deal with Philly people =[

  10. skulman7 says: Mar 8, 2012 9:29 AM

    Huge for Temple. They’ve always made the best of 3 start and 2 star prospects (something they’ve gotten very good at). Now that they are in a bigger conference with more money, new facilities and more national exposure, it’s only a matter of time before they start getting better recruits, especially those from the Philadelphia area.

  11. gators56 says: Mar 8, 2012 9:42 AM

    Hah! The Dazz had a good carry over from the prior coach and his recruitment. This year Temple will begin their decline to obscurity again.

  12. ningenito78 says: Mar 8, 2012 11:11 AM

    I just did. There won’t be such a thing as AQ status in next BCS contract. Maybe pick up a newspaper sometime.

  13. dmcgrann says: Mar 8, 2012 11:42 AM

    thegamecocker said:

    …The Owls are worthy and it will restore GREAT college basketball to Philly. They will compete with ‘Nova, Penn, St. Joe’s, and LaSalle…

    I don’t disagree with your overall assessment, but Temple, St. Joe’s, and LaSalle are currently in the A-10. So, Temple will trade four games with St. Joe’s and LaSalle for two with ‘Nova? In other words, they’ll go from playing six games in the Big Five this year to five games in coming years.

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