Is there any doubt at this point? Rick Pitino spends October through February banging away on how the Big East needs to add Memphis. Now they are coming. His other team to add was Temple. Guess who is on the verge?
It appears the board of trustees of Temple is meeting Wednesday via a conference call to decide if it wants to accept a Big East Conference invitation, if offered.
Discussions between the Big East and Temple regarding the Owls’ joining the conference, possibly for all sports, are hitting the final stages.
Assuming Temple gets an invitation and accepts it, the school has to quickly negotiate exit fees.
Hope you understand the key area: Temple is only deciding whether it will accept an invitation to join the Big East — you know if the the Big East makes them an offer.
Despite all the rumors and noise last week about Temple joining the Big East, there is still no official offer, invitation, or even known vote by the Big East on the matter. In other words, beating back the Villanova opposition.
This is rather convoluted in process for a very simple thing. The Big East needs another team for 2012. Boise State was too expensive, and not desperate enough. The Big East screwed up in the way it took Memphis without further extracting their departure from C-USA early. Mainly because they still hadn’t cut the deal with WVU’s departure, so they could still be in denial about WVU being in the Big East for one more year. The Big East can’t afford/won’t pay to buy the other 7 schools one more game. That leaves Temple.
Temple has had discussions with representatives of the Big East for several weeks about joining the league for the upcoming school year and has also spoken with people from Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference, which are discussing a merger and swelling their ranks to include as many as 24 teams.
“This is driven by the 2012 football schedule,” said Patrick J. O’Connor, Chairman of Temple’s Board of Trustees and principal in the Philadelphia-based law firm Cozen O’Connor. “Because of that, decisions have to be made. There are time considerations.”
For all that talk about hedging by the Big East for Louisville’s eventual departure for the Big 12 (not that, that won’t happen, but that is a side issue), this is about a cost effective solution.
Temple would be leaving the MAC — and for football only. Their basketball and other sports are in the A-10. Not that they wouldn’t finally be all the way in the Big East this time. It is just that they can actually abide the departure rules of the A-10 without pressure and extra cost if need be. The Big East does not need to be in any hurry to take them for basketball and such (like the ACC with Pitt and Cuse).
So, that means negotiating a much smaller exit cost with the MAC just for football. The floor starts at $2.5 million (the normal exit fee along with 2 years notice for the MAC). The Big East might help a little — mainly by waiving or reducing the $5 million entrance fee Temple would be paying the Big East would be my guess.
The Big East not only solves its scheduling issues for 2012, but is at least able to claim that it has a football footprint maintained in Pennsylvania. Not to mention pretending they have achieved an upgrade in media market with Philly for football.
Temple not only gets back into the Big East, but they get all the way in. To be perfectly fair, something they deserved back in the 90s but for Villanova.
Meanwhile UMass is potentially screwed with its move to 1-A and the MAC by Temple leaving (the MAC-UMass deal has a clause allowing the MAC to drop UMass as a member within 2 years if Temple leaves). And East Carolina is still stuck in Greenville and the future Mount USA Conference (MUC).