Temple’s forthcoming move to the American Athletic Conference has provoked discussion among students about its implications for the university, the new level of competition in the conference and about its effects for each of Temple’s sports teams.
Students were split on whether Temple basketball would be better off in terms of being able to keep up in the standings, while most believed the football team would not fare so well in this regard. Numerous students agreed that it will be better off, in the long run, for Temple football to be in this new conference because the Owls will have to play tougher competition, thus forcing the Owls to improve their recruiting practices in order to keep up. However, in the short run, some believe it might be tough for them to stay competitive in this new setting.
One student, Walter Mebane III, a senior African American studies major, echoed this concern regarding football being left behind, while basketball would be able to continue to play at the current level of competition, or even be able to make a stronger impression in the national spotlight.
“As far as basketball is concerned, it has always been solid since the coach [John] Cheney days,” he said. “I think Temple has a great basketball tradition, but as far as Temple moving from the [Mid-American Conference] into the Big East, that’s a much bigger move.”
Another student, Zach Lain, a freshman kinesiology major, expressed mixed feelings about the idea of changing conferences.
“It’s pretty sad,” he said. “The Big East has had a tradition for a long time of being the most prestigious conference for sure. To see that conference go down is pretty disappointing, but at the same time as one door closes, another one opens.”
Chris Schoen, a freshman engineering major, expressed his overall disappointment about conference realignment.
“It’s kind of stupid because it’s all about the money,” he said. “It takes away the fun of college football, the rivalries and everything. It takes away the regional rivalries. The Big East was cool because you knew fans from every school. Now it’s not like that anymore.”
Mebane, whose brother, Brandon, plays for the Seattle Seahawks, however, had a positive approach to this new realignment.
“I feel like it’s pretty cool,” he said. “As long as Temple continues to win, no matter what the big wigs in the Big East decide as far as cutting out the Big East altogether, I feel that as long as Temple continues to win, they can get blue chip recruits. The Temple program is just going to be on the rise.”
Lain added that it was changing the way that college athletics were perceived in the bigger picture.
“It’s interesting,” he said. “The conferences have been getting really switched up lately. The PAC-10 becoming the PAC-12. The Big-12 losing some big schools. The SEC getting [Missouri], and a few other schools like that, and the A&M’s. Everything getting flipped-flopped is pretty interesting the way it changes the spotlight in college athletics in general.”
Samuel Botwinick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.