Temple to Join Big East in Football in 2012, All Sports in Following Year
The move is the latest for the Providence, Rhode Island- based conference, which has added schools after losing members such as West Virginia University.
“Today is an exciting day for the Big East,” Commissioner John Marinatto said at a news conference yesterday during the Big East men’s basketball tournament at New York’s Madison Square Garden. “Now we will take a pause on the expansion front.”
Since the end of the last football season, the Big East has added Navy, Boise State and San Diego State for football, as well as Southern Methodist, Memphis, Central Florida and Houston for all sports. All those schools except Navy will join the conference as football members beginning in 2013, while the Midshipmen will join the league in 2015.
The addition of Philadelphia-based Temple provides the conference with an eighth football team for the 2012 season. The Big East football lineup for this coming season will consist of Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple and South Florida.
Temple’s football team has played in the Mid-American Conference since 2007, where it never finished worse than fourth in the seven-team East division. The Owls played football in the Big East from 1991 to 2004 and competed as an independent prior to joining the MAC. Temple won 14 conference games in its 14- year stint in the Big East, where it was unable to compete with programs with bigger budgets.
$6 Million Exit
In a statement on its website, the MAC announced that Temple had requested permission to leave the conference without providing the required two-season’s prior notice and that the two sides had negotiated a $6 million exit fee.
“We have come to an agreement that is fair to the parties involved,” MAC Commissioner Jon A. Steinbrecher said in the statement.
All other Owls athletics teams, including basketball, participated in the Atlantic-10 this season. Temple would owe that conference $1 million for providing one year’s notice of its intention to leave, or $2 million for giving it less notice, according to ESPN.
The Temple men’s basketball team, which has made the quarterfinals of the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament five times since 1988, will join the league in 2013, helping to make up for the departure of perennial powers Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the Atlantic Coast Conference. The move will put Temple and Philadelphia-based rival Villanova in the same conference.
The Owls are ranked No. 21 by the Associated Press and are the top seed in this week’s Atlantic-10 tournament.
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