Temple University officially rejoined the Big East in all sports, league officials announced Wednesday, with the support of Philadelphia market rival Villanova, which previously had opposed the move. The Owls will be a football member in 2012-13, replacing Big 12-bound West Virginia, and they will compete in all sports starting in 2013-14.
A football-only member from 1991-2004, Temple was forced out of the Big East because of the sad state of its football program. But it gained credibility in recent years at a time when the Big East is moving to strengthen its football portion.
"We didn't deserve, truthfully, to be in the football competition in those years, but it's hard to get kicked out," said Lewis Katz, chairman of Temple's athletic committee. "Now, we have a real football program. We're going to give the Big East exactly what they deserve, and they've given us, financially, the opportunity to run a stable program. [They] have changed our athletic budget by 800 percent next year. That's extraordinary."
Temple owes a $6-million exit fee to the Mid-American conference in football and a $1 million exit fee to the Atlantic 10 for basketball and other sports. Big East commissioner John Marinatto said the conference will provide assistance making those payments "through future revenue distributions."
Villanova will receive financial considerations in the form of a commitment from the league to help it explore moving its football program from FCS to FBS level and by hiring a consultant to help the two Philadelphia schools share the conference brand productively.
Marinatto said the Big East will "pause" after expanding to 13 football schools to focus on TV negotiations for a revised league with schools in all four time zones.