The presidents and chancellors of the 14 remaining Big East members have authorized Commissioner John Marinatto to add enough schools to form a 12-team football league, according to reports from various media outlets. This news comes at the heels of much speculation that Temple could be at the front of the line for consideration by Big East officials.
This is great news for Temple, as they have emerged as a candidate for acceptance into the conference. Big East membership could have profound opportunities for the athletic programs at Temple. A conference like the Big East would ultimately lead to more competitive opponents, making Temple a popular option for more talented recruits. The increase in competition, coupled with the undeniable opportunity for more nationally televised games would widen the talent pool within each program.
Although not yet in the Big East, moving from the Mid-American Conference and Atlantic Ten Conference, to a bigger conference, would exponentially increase payouts to Temple and its athletic programs. This football season, the MAC will receive $2.63 million in revenues from the Bowl Championship series to schools while the Big East will receive $22.5 million, according to Sporting News. Even if the Big East accepted four other football schools along with Temple, they would still be receiving $1.4 million, which is more than the approximate $202,000 the MAC is currently allotting to them, assuming the payouts are equal among all schools.
A similar story can be seen in basketball, where the Big East received $21.6 million for payouts from the NCAA in the 2011 NCAA Tournament while the A-10 received $6 million, according to Business Insider. Therefore, Temple could be making approximately 1 million more in payouts from the conference, depending on conference alignment and assuming the payouts are equal.
Couple this with television rights, media exposure and merchandise sales and Temple would be tapping into a financial market.
The possibility to move to a more competitive conference is first due to the up-and-coming development of the football program–one pieced together by Al Golden and inherited by Steve Addazio along with his renowned Florida coaching staff. Without the earnest developments put forth by the program, specifically the excellent hiring of Addazio, Temple wouldn’t even be considered in the talks.
For me, the big sell for Temple lies within its basketball program.
According to reports from various media outlets, East Carolina, Navy, Army, Air Force, Houston and Central Florida have expressed interest in membership. Among the rumored candidates, Temple certainly boasts the best possible basketball program for the Big East. Seeing as the Big East is more known for its basketball competitiveness than football, it’s a win-win for both sides.
This is perfect timing for Temple to receive an invitation to a more competitive conference especially when university officials have been, and are certainly doing everything they can, to put Temple on the map. Temple’s ongoing 20/20 plan, an approximate $305 million renovation and expansion of campus–including a new architecture building, new science education and research building and new residential and retail complex–will certainly give Big East officials a sense of Temple’s firm developmental plans, not only within its athletic department, but also as an overall educational institution.
Realistically, it’s a golden opportunity for both sides. Let’s hope Big East officials see it that way, too.
Riley Loula can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.