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Big East Expansion: Villanova Is Blocking Temple, And They're Right To Do It

According to an article by Tom Luicci in the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Villanova is blocking Temple from becoming an all-sports member of the Big East. As Luicci puts it:

Villanova spent part of yesterday’s (Tuesday's) conference call undermining Temple as an expansion candidate, saying it would accept the Owls as a football member only. The football schools want Temple as an all-sports addition.

First off, I completely believe this - and I can't blame Villanova at all. Right now they, along with the 7 other basketball schools, hold the power of the vote in the conference. They find themselves in a rare position where they have leverage, and they should use it

And for those crying over the basketball schools ruining the Big East, keep in mind that apparently the football schools don't want to ensure the future of the conference, otherwise the exit fees would have been raised from $5 million weeks ago.

The basketball schools proposed doubling the exit penalty to $10 million while also asking for a 15-year commitment. The football schools have flatly rejected that, causing a bigger fissure between the two sides.

The 15-year committment is ridiculous in my opinion - but several of the basketball schools are facing basketball execution ('Nova, Georgetown, St. John's, and Marquette excluded). Can't blame them for swinging for the fences on that one.

Now for the fun part of all this. The NY Post is reporting that Villanova "bashed" Temple to Marinatto. Sounds like they're frustrated. Again, can't blame them after what the Big East put them through. The Philadelphia Daily News put it a bit lighter, saying that Villanova's message to the Big East was clear - they are the Philadelphia team (not Temple) that the Big East craves.

After The Jump, we'll dive into why this is a dicey situation for Villanova.

There's a few aspects complicating this from Villanova's end.

  1. Villanova wants to move up to FBS football as a part of the Big East, but only if the league can commit to some stability (raised exit fees) which the football schools do not want to commit to because they all want to leave for greener pastures (all the while preaching their commitment to the conference).
  2. The basketball schools absolutely do not want Villanova to move up and join the football schools. They're not stupid. They see the writing of the CYO league on the wall, and the CYO league with national powers like Villanova and Georgetown is much better for them.
  3. Why would Villanova vote Temple in without concessions (guaranteed financial figures from TV money and a stable Big East that includes Villanova football)? They're absolutely doing the right thing in blocking Temple for the time being. It'd be irresponsible on their part not to.

Most Villanova folks have maintained that if Villanova moves up, we'd be okay with Temple coming too. In fact, despite giving up our stronghold on the Philadelphia market, exploiting the Villanova-Temple rivalry (which has a ton of history) could be a great thing for the Big East that just lost two longtime members and a lot of rivalries because of it.

So anyone screaming that the basketball schools are ruining the conference, you're full of it. The football schools are just as much at blame for not agreeing to an exit fee increase. If they really cared about keeping the Big East together, that exit fee would be around the proposed $20 million that Marinatto is pushing. Instead, they're all looking out for themselves. Just like the basketball schools are.

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