The Big East presidents met this morning at Madison Square Garden to deal with various items of conference business. Included in that was a vote in favor of admitting Temple University to the conference — the Owls will join as football members in the fall, to fill the spot previously filled by West Virginia in the football schedules of current members.
The Big East did not initially intend to add a 13th football member, but WVU's untimely departure, combined with an inability to coax Boise State into buying their way out of the MWC a year early, left the Big East with an immediate need for another football team. Temple would re-emerge on the scene, offering to leave the MAC and play in the Big East next season.
Temple will reportedly pay somewhere around $6 million to leave the MAC in football without giving notice, and will have to pay another $1 million to the Atlantic 10 conference to exit that conference. According to CBS Sports, however, the Big East will help Temple pay their bill for the early MAC exodus.
"The conference is assisting through future revenue distributions Temple with its payout, but I don't see any point in getting into specifics," Big East commissioner Marinatto confirmed.
Football will join the Big East conference in the fall, but basketball will not join until a year later. Since basketball isn't needed by the Big East in the short-term, Temple will save at least $1 million by waiting until 2013-14 to withdraw from the Atlantic 10 conference.
"We welcome Temple to the Big East family," said Jay Wright, Villanova head men’s basketball coach. "Temple and Villanova will work well together to ensure the Big East’s status as an elite conference and to make Philadelphia a great Big East city. We look forward to adding new chapters to our great rivalry with Temple in the years to come."
"It won’t change anything for us,because we recruit against them all the time anyway."
Temple was an original member of the Big East football conference in 1991, but was the only football-only member that never converted their membership into a full one. Villanova is believed to have opposed that measure at the time. Instead, the Owls were unceremoniously kicked out of the league in 2004.
"You know, we didn't deserve, truthfully, to be in the football competition in those years," Temple athletics chair Lewis Katz admitted. "But it's hard to get kicked out."
The Big East will be working with a consultant over the next year to help alleviate any issues between Villanova and Temple sharing the Philadelphia market.
"We are using the current year as a transition year in order to analyze what we can by hiring a consultant to explore how we can best exploit the marketplace moving forward," Marinatto offered, "to retain each schools individual identity, a brand that Villanova has worked on for over three decades, with the Big East and how to incorporate and associate that with Temple."
"It is obviously in the best interest of the conference obviously for the two schools to coexist in a very positive way, and one of the things we want to do is ensure that's the case by doing this."
There is no direct financial compensation to Villanova, related to basketball, included in the move.
There also will be nothing holding back Temple from utilizing the Wells Fargo Center for Big East home games. The Big East's consultant will help determine how and when the two schools share the arena.
"We like the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia," Katz said. "Certainly the results of that game [against Duke] would show that. So we will play, where appropriate, in the Wells Fargo Center, and I think part of the discussion in the next year is, figuring out how to do that."
"The conference obviously also has a say as to which games are played in a large arena," Marinatto added, suggesting that neither school will be allowed to monopolize the arena. "In fact, our conference policy allows us to move games or not move games as we see fit. So the conference will play a large role in that."
When the other new members join the league in 2013, There will be 12 members in football and the Big East will be permitted to play a football championship game. With the US Naval Academy joining the conference in the 2015 season, the Big East will now have 13 members at that time, and could potentially still add another school to have an even 14.
That is, unless another school leaves the conference before then. Louisville is reportedly still on the Big 12's expansion radar, and could move to that conference if they opt to expand again in the coming months.
The Big East has become more willing to begin discussions about allowing Syracuse and Pittsburgh to leave for the ACC at the conclusion of the 2012-12 academic year, but no discussions have yet begun to that end.
As part of this decision to accept Temple to the Big East conference, the Big East also expressed its support for Villanova’s football program and its place as a prime candidate in the conference’s future expansion. Fr. Donohue added, "We appreciate the Big East’s demonstration of support for our football program, which provides Villanova with financial resources to continue positioning our football program in the context of supporting our Strategic Plan."