The Big East is considering expansion once more ... only this time, it's a move that actually makes sense geographically (and here I was thinking that Marinatto had skipped 4th grade geography). The Temple Board of Trustees were supposed to meet yesterday to discuss whether the Owls would accept an invitation from the Big East to join as an all-sports member, potentially as early as the 2012 season. However, the meeting was later cancelled.
"This (board meeting) is driven by the 2012 football schedule," Patrick J. O’Connor, Chairman of Temple’s Board of Trustees told CSNPhilly.com. "Because of that, decisions have to be made. There are time considerations."
With the ACC officially releasing their schedule on Monday, it's officially official that Pitt will remain in the Big East for at least one more season. As we've gone over before, Pitt has a scheduling problem. Since Boise State fell through, the Big East is in scramble mode to try and find a member that will be able to join for next season to bring the number of football playing members to eight and help fix the scheduling woes.
But just because Temple could be a fit doesn't mean that things will go off without a hitch.
But there could be one snag to an immediate deal. Temple's exit provision from the MAC calls for a two-year waiting period and a $2.5 million withdrawal fee. The waiting period was added last spring for both Temple and Massachusetts, its only football-playing members, in a move meant to protect the MAC's interests during changing conference alignment.
A source said that Temple has reached out to the MAC to discuss its exit provisions, adding the league expects the Owls to honor the terms of their agreement.
Cue the irony. The Big East, who was so adamant about making sure that Pitt, Syracuse, and West Virginia (how'd that work out in the end?) honor their contractual agreement and remain for 27 months now expects Temple to just pack up their bags and join in four months? But as we saw with WVU, anything can be had for the right price.
Let's make one thing clear: The Big East should only send an invite to the Owls if it is 100% definite that they will be able to exit for the 2012 season in football. If not, this move is pointless and the conference should just move on. As for the rest of Temple's sports, the Big East can wait and actually have a team honor the terms of their contract. Departing the Atlantic 10, where Temple's other sports reside, calls for a $1 million fee and a year's notice. The Big East is perfectly fine in basketball for the 2012 season.
If the move goes down, what does that mean for local rival Villanova? To be perfectly honest, I find it hilarious. Maybe I'm still bitter about that whole Scottie Reynolds thing. Maybe it's because of that whole mess last year with the Big East only considering Villanova as the 10th member when there were plenty of options that were just as good, if not better (and wouldn't involve waiting three years for them to be a full member to boot). Maybe it's because the Big East has long viewed football as the red-headed stepchild when it should have embraced it and done everything it could have to make it better.
But it's a bit of karmic retribution for Nova. When Temple was a football-only member, they had a fairly strong basketball program. But Villanova, having been a charter member, helped keep the Owls from being a full member. Now the Owls will get exactly what they wanted years ago and no matter what Villanova says, there's not much they can do about it. And Nova will still be in the FCS for football with little to no reason for the Big East to have them move up. In the end, Temple wins and Villanova loses.
So what does this ultimately mean? It's a move that the Big East should have done in the first place. Unlike the last go-round with the conference, Temple could be a bit more competitive in football against Big East teams. They also have a solid basketball program with new facilities. I think the addition of Temple also increases Pitt's chances of leaving the Big East for 2013. With the addition of the Owls, the Big East will have 12 members (not including Pitt or Syracuse) playing football, so they would be able to hold a championship game regardless of whether the Panthers and Orange are still playing in the Big East.