During his annual State of the University Address last month, President Richard Englert said Temple is still possibly pursuing the construction of an on-campus football stadium with retail and classroom space.
Englert said the new facility would save Temple $2 to $3 million per year after its lease with the Philadelphia Eagles to play at Lincoln Financial Field ends after the 2019 season. The university currently pays $1 million per year to rent the Linc.
The results of a $1.25 million feasibility study that began in February 2016 have not been made public. After the address, Englert told The Temple News there are “multiple” ongoing feasibility studies.
The Board of Trustees will meet on Tuesday and likely discuss the stadium. The university has not yet made a decision, Englert told The Temple News after the address on Sept. 28.
In February 2016, The Temple News asked incoming recruits for their thoughts on the possibility of the stadium. With more progress toward approval, opposition from some North Philadelphia residents and a student body that doesn’t overwhelmingly support or disapprove the stadium, The Temple News talked to recruits, players and coach Geoff Collins for their takes.
Between the white lines
Redshirt-senior offensive lineman Cole Boozer is in his final season and wouldn’t get to play in the stadium proposed to be on 15th Street between Norris and Montgomery Avenue. But his brother Evan Boozer, a senior defensive lineman at Loyola Blakefield High School in Maryland who verbally committed to Temple in June, might.
“It would be nice to have a stadium, and I would like to have a stadium, but it’s completely up to how everyone in Philadelphia feels,” Cole Boozer said. “To be honest, it’s not really a factor for me because I’m leaving. It’d be nice for my brother for me to come back later in years to come be at a new stadium. But I mean, to me it’s indifferent right now.”
After his introductory press conference at the Liacouras Center in December, Collins told reporters he’d seen renderings of a potential stadium during his interview process. The stadium was oriented to provide a view of Center City, Collins said.
“I don’t even know if I can remember the spring, much less that,” Collins said when asked about the renderings during his weekly press conference on Oct. 3.
“I think it’s special,” Collins added. “I think having a place right here…is going to be great. Whatever time frame it happens, we’re going to make the absolute best of it.”
Drawing inspiration from an iconic venue
Through its first three home games, Temple has an average attendance of about 27,350 people, which is about 679 fewer than the average in the first three home games last season.
Redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Travon Williams is from Northeast Philadelphia and played high school football at New Foundations Charter School in Holmesburg, where he made the All-Public League team in 2013 and 2014.
Williams’ uncle lives at York and 11th streets so they talk about the potential stadium a lot, he said. Williams said the possible on-campus stadium would be great for recruiting, but he understands the surrounding community could be affected.
“The community supports us a lot on the field, but I don’t know if they’re that much involved enough to where they would basically uproot their families to provide us with a stadium,” Williams said.
Trad Beatty, a quarterback at Ben Lippen School in Columbia, South Carolina, who will join the team as an early enrollee in Spring 2018, said the possible on-campus stadium didn’t play a huge role in his decision to commit to Temple. But he does think it could help with attracting future recruits.
Adam Klein, a senior offensive lineman at Episcopal Academy in Delaware County who is verbally committed to Temple, said coaches mentioned the possible on-campus stadium while they recruited him.
While Klein sat in Collins’ office in Edberg-Olson Hall with offensive line coach Chris Wiesehan and offensive graduate assistant Cody Booth in July, he listened as the coaches told him they would like the stadium to be built similarly to the one at the University of Michigan.
Michigan’s stadium, nicknamed “The Big House,” is a gigantic bowl dug into the ground with seating above. The architects of the Big House structured the stadium to keep fan noise inside to keep pressure on opposing offenses.
“It’s a huge factor to have that home crowd and that atmosphere with the real loud noise,” Klein said.
“Having that type of atmosphere for Temple students would just be amazing,” he added.