Starting on Nov. 8, Temple’s basketball teams will join the majority of the athletic department and begin their season in the American Athletic Conference. The move to The American, made official this summer, was announced with the promise that “members with ambitious goals are provided with the means to succeed in their quests for excellence.”
At Temple, it’s true that the new conference will bring an increase in revenue for football and basketball, as well as improved competition for most sports. However, fans that believe the move to The American will cure all of the athletic department’s ills should curb their enthusiasm.
The university has taken the stance that the move to The American is beneficial because it unifies most of Temple’s sports in a conference of universities with similar scope and commitment to athletics. However, that isn’t the case.
A Spring 2013 Temple News analysis of the schools that are competing or will compete in The American before 2015 shows that Temple ranks below average in terms of total expenses, revenue and operating expenses for its athletic budgets. Per sport, only Tulane and Tulsa spend less in operating expenses out of 13 schools.
Budgetary confinements aren’t everything, but for the most part, more money means better facilities and more talented recruits, leading to a better on-field product. It’s clear that some sports are behind the eight ball.
The football team is 0-5 in The American and sits in last place in the conference. The women’s soccer team ended this season on a nine-game conference losing streak. On the contrary, the men’s soccer and volleyball teams, despite having the smallest budgets in the conference, have posted winning records in The American.
If the new conference manages to stay intact, it will bolster the athletic department in the long run. However, Temple fans should expect growing pains.