The need for speed: A call to reinstate Temple Men’s Track & Field

An alumnus urges Temple to reinstate the university’s Track and Field team to help student athletes and the community and to bring back a winning football culture at Temple.

Men’s indoor and outdoor track along with other sports like baseball, Men’s Crew and Men’s Gymnastics, were eliminated by the Temple Athletics board in 2014 as a cost saving measure. Men’s Crew eventually returned to Temple Athletics. 

Since that time, Temple Football has suffered immensely, unable to compete with other schools by not being able to field teams with speed and agility. 

Head coach Stan Drayton and his staff have done an exemplary job with the current football team, but they can only do so much to compete with other schools. As Temple Football continues its offseason, the university should recognize the importance of men’s track and field to the skills of the football program. 

As one watches Temple’s games, it becomes apparent players cannot match up with those from other schools due to lacking the speed and agility to compete offensively and defensively.

The top 25 performing football teams, including Alabama, have a men’s track team that helps them perform better. A men’s track team helps athletes by teaching them body control, lateral movement, improved jumping ability and increased speed over long or short distances  

Jalen Hurts, quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, attended Alabama and credits running track as helping develop his football skills.

In the past, Temple utilized members of Men’s Track and to enhance a competitive winning environment with skills developed running track within Temple Football.

Don Council, Joe Morelli and Steve Watson are just a few dual sport Temple Hall of Famers who participated in track supplemented by members of basketball, soccer, fencing and gymnastics.

In an effort to cut costs and meet Title IX compliance, those opportunities were eliminated even though Temple was making good progress towards a goal 89 percent of Division I schools had not met in 2022, including Temple.

To improve the performance of the football team, Temple should reinstate a Men’s Track & Field team.

This leads to the question, why doesn’t Temple have a team that affords student athletes the community, particularly those who are marginalized, the opportunity to develop life skills and enhance the Temple brand.

One then wonders why Temple does not have a men’s track team that is of immense help to the community and the football program.

Financial resources have been cited as a primary reason for the elimination of track and other sports. However, men’s track is the least costly sport at Temple, on a cost per athlete basis at an estimated $10,200 per athlete, according to Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act data from 2013 that’s been adjusted for inflation.

As noted, track has a synergy with the skills to make football, one of the most costly sports, more competitive thereby raising the probability of a better financial return by means of postseason invitations. 

This question needs to be closely examined as there are other available revenue avenues to offset costs.

Temple raises large sums of money from its contract with ESPN.

In addition, Temple already has a men’s cross-country team and thus many of these team members would be part of the nucleus of the reinstated men’s track team.

A committee of former track alumni for reinstating men’s track and field has been working with Temple to bring back the team but needs help to provide the speed to reestablish a winning  football culture at Temple.

“You can work really hard at something and not get what [you] want,” Drayton recently stated. “If you have the will to continue to fight, it’s going to shine through for you. I do feel like I have a team that’s willing to fight,”

So does our committee.

-Bill Mahoney Temple Hall of Fame, Track & Cross Country, on behalf of Temple Men’s Track and Field Reinstatement Team.

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