News With Commentary by TSL Staff

Thursday, March 1, 2001
by Will Stewart,

Big East to Oust Temple Football

In a surprising development, the presidents of the schools in the Big East Football Conference have voted to expel the Temple Owls, perhaps as early as the 2001 season.

The league presidents held a special meeting in New Jersey last month to discuss the matter of Temple football, and it was at this meeting that the Owls were apprised of the decision.

Mark Blaudschun of The Boston Globe broke the news in an article that ran yesterday:

Temple to leave Big East football -- The Boston Globe, 2/28/2001

The Big East Football Conference laid down minimum requirements for membership several years ago, with the two most prominent requirements being that a school must be the primary tenant of their football stadium, and that minimum home attendance requirements must be met. The Owls met neither requirement over the years, and the league presidents voted to give them the boot.

In an Associated Press wire report, Big East senior associate commissioner Thomas McElroy said Wednesday night during Boston College's basketball game against St. John's, "They (Temple) have not, since 1996, fulfilled our criteria for membership. Our presidents have informed Temple that since they have not been in compliance, they are going to discontinue their affiliation with the conference. The decision has been made."

Meanwhile,, which covers Temple athletics, is reporting that the action is immediate (Temple will not play in the conference next year) and that the Owls will receive a multi-million dollar "severance package" from the league:

Big East boots Owls --, 2/28/2001

The author of the article, Shawn Pastor, also added some notes from the rumor mill in a message board post that he made on's message board:

Here's what I've heard ... -- Shawn Pastor, 2/28/2001

Pastor includes some interesting notes in his message board post, which he believes to be true but will not vouch for 100%:

  • Temple needed two "yes" votes to stay in the league but only got one, from Virginia Tech. Pittsburgh abstained, and all other schools voted them out.
  • The Big East's severance package to Temple will be in the neighborhood of $7 million.
  • Temple has contacted Conference USA about membership but has been told no, leaving the future of the Temple football and athletic programs in doubt.

The Temple Board of Trustees will meet at 3:00 this afternoon to discuss the future of the Temple football program. The Owls have the options of finding another conference or dropping down to 1-AA, where they could join the Atlantic 10 for football (the Owls already compete in the Atlantic 10 for all other sports).

For more, see Will Stewart's column A Tough But Necessary Move.


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