Stadium could cause club sports to lose practice fields

Geasey Field, which is used by club sports, would be built over if the stadium is approved.

Geasey Field was built at the corner of 15th and Norris in 1956. Geasey Field is part of the university’s proposed on-campus football stadium. | JAMIE COTTRELL / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Some students are upset that if Temple’s proposed on-campus stadium is approved, they may no longer have outdoor space like Geasey Field, a facility where club and intramural sports practice. The stadium is proposed to be built atop Geasey Field at the corner of 15th and Norris streets.

Campus Recreation currently offers eight intramural sports and has 36 sport clubs utilizing indoor and outdoor spaces, including the Student Training and Recreation Complex, Geasey Field, the Student Pavilion and the Temple Sports Complex. Depending on the time of year, club sports and intramurals sports are scheduled to use Geasey Field Sunday through Friday from 6 to 11:30 p.m.

The space for the 35,000-seat proposed stadium would stretch from Broad Street to 16th between Norris Street and Montgomery Avenue. The university would also demolish the Student Pavilion, which is a practice space for student-athletes and club sports, to build the stadium.

“Like many institutions located in an urban setting, outdoor field spaces are limited here at Temple,” Senior Director of Student Services for Campus Recreation John Doman wrote in an email. “We understand that and try to accommodate as many requests as possible, but unfortunately we cannot provide unlimited outdoor open recreation.”

Doman added that he is unaware if there are any current discussions regarding the creation of new outdoor recreation space on Main Campus.

Students like sophomore finance major Francis McKeown already struggle to access Geasey Field and any other spaces for recreational activities. McKeown is a part of the Temple Ultras soccer club.

“Last year we found it very difficult just to get on the field, but having nothing would be even worse because there’s nowhere else even remotely close,” McKeown said. “One day me and a couple guys tried to go find the next closest field, and we had to walk two miles into Center City just to find an open field that we could play on.”

In Fall 2016, the university opened the Temple Sports Complex on Broad Street near Thompson, which houses a track and field that is mostly used by Division I teams like field hockey and soccer. It has limited hours for community resident use.

“We basically got pushed to the backburner,” McKeown said.  “I think the team’s really let down by the university. It definitely seems like Temple doesn’t care. All Temple cares about is football.”

The loss of Geasey Field would also affect the future of the club softball team, as it is one of the few facilities that the team is allowed to use for practice, team members said.

This would be the latest blow for the sport, as softball was one of four Division I sports cut by the university in July 2014.

The club softball team is only allowed to practice at Geasey Field and the Student Pavilion. It can only host scheduled games at Ambler Campus, but it isn’t allowed to practice there, said Emily DiLossi, the president of the softball club and a senior kinesiology major. During practices at the approved locations, the team is not allowed to hit balls for safety reasons because it shares the facility with other teams like fencing and rowing.

The members of the team fear that if the university receives all of its city approvals by June — which administrators told The Temple News they expect to do — their club may fold due to lack of practice space.

DiLossi and the team only learned about possibly losing practice space after Maddy Coady, a junior early childhood education major and the incoming president of the club, scheduled a meeting with one of the club’s administrators.

Club softball team members said it’s likely if the stadium project is approved, they’ll have to end their team or pay out of pocket to rent other spaces, where they could possibly be reimbursed.

“We have to fight for ourselves completely, no one has our back,” DiLossi added. “I don’t even think we would’ve been told about the stadium. I don’t even think we would’ve been told about anything. I guarantee other club sports don’t know. I bet intramural sports don’t know that the field they use every day is getting taken away.”

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