Stadium: Rock and Hard Place


Abstract cell art from our tailgate bud Darin Bartholomew

Depending upon who is consulted, there are two schools of thought regarding this too-long and drawn-out process called building a new football stadium:

  1. Relax. Everything has been taken care of behind the scenes. Everything you see now is for show.
  2. City Council will see a whole lot of protesters in its chambers come crunch time and vote against closing 15th Street, effectively killing the project.

Maybe it’s because I’ve lived inside the city limits all of my life and am all-too-familiar with the way this City Government works, and people in school of thought one live in far-flung places like Long Island and Virginia, but Temple is officially between a rock and a hard place if it does not get permission to close 15th Street.

Guess what?

It’s not coming.


In my mind, just enough space to build if you move the Amos Rec across the street but the Star Complex replaced most of the track and football field here.

Darrell Clarke is dead set against it and the “community” seems dead set against it.

Temple could have built on that site if the Star Complex wasn’t built because it would not require the permanent closing—actually rerouting—of 15th Street. You could probably relocate Amos Recreation Center across 15th to the old student Pavilion and squeeze a 35K stadium into the spot occupied by both Geasey and Star.

Now, with Star built, that limits Temple’s options to this:

Extend the Linc Deal

This will require holding the nose, taking the medicine and swallowing because the “lease” is one of the reasons why the university wanted to build a stadium in the first place.

Go to Franklin Field

Not an option because the AAC requires member schools to have stadium control at least on Saturdays. AAC tolerates the Linc because it gives Temple that control. It will not tolerate Penn having control over AAC TV schedule.

Knock Down The Temple Sports Complex

Move the soccer, field hockey and lax teams back to Geasey and knock down a facility Temple just spent $22 million to build and replace it with a football stadium. If you really want to build a stadium on campus, that’s Temple’s only option. It would not require closing any street and because the “community” did not oppose building the stadiums already on that location, they would not have much of an argument against building a football stadium there.

Monday: Our New Scheduling Buddies


Best Cherry and White Day Ever?


Proof that a stadium or two can be built at TU without community opposition

Back in the day, they built a $22 million on-campus stadium right in the heart of Temple University’s footprint with nary a peep of protest from the surrounding community or student “Stadium Stompers.”

That day was two years ago and it is now the permanent home of Temple soccer, field hockey and lacrosse.

It will also be the temporary home of the Temple football Owls for what could be the best Cherry and White Day ever. The game will be moved to the soccer home of the Owls a few blocks south of 10th and Diamond this year, better know as the “Temple Sports Complex” or, more specifically, Howarth Field.


We called for this a year ago and the university listened

We’ve called for the Temple spring football game to be moved here last year (see inset to the right) and finally the university listened. Meanwhile, we had a lot of the status quo apologists on social media pooh-pooh the idea saying “you can’t do it because of recruits” and “you can’t do it because of logistics.”

Well, Temple is doing what the naysayers said cannot be done and the powers-that-be (Pat Kraft and company) need to be applauded for that, moving the football game from an overly cramped facility to a more roomy location with plenty of seating.


The discussion last year centered on just why the university was intent on squeezing 5,000 pounds of fans into a 100-pound bag when a 2,000-pound bag became available.  Bringing portable seats for 500 people when, on a nice day, you can get 5,000 people into a little over 100-yard square area made sense when you had no place else to go.

Now they do and I hope this is the temporary spot for the game going forward, at least until a larger stadium can be built. The soccer facility opened in the fall of 2016 and the place has 2,000 permanent seats and they can still move those portable E-O seats to that location.

South Florida, which also plays in a NFL stadium, moved its spring game from its football complex to its soccer complex in 2016 and it was an unqualified success. All the Bulls had to do was line the soccer field with football yard lines, put a couple of goal posts in and away then went.

April 14th’s Cherry and White game figures to be the best ever for a couple of reasons, a celebration of the school’s third bowl win and Paul Palmer being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Bruce Arians can’t come this year due to a prior commitment, but has promised to catch a Cherry and White game in the future.

The people have been the ones who have made Cherry and White great in the past. Now that they get to enjoy it in a place slightly larger than a phone booth, the location just adds to the usual great time.

Friday: Rock and Hard Place

Monday: Scheduling Buddies

Wednesday: The Bullhorn Lady

Spring (Practice) Is In the Air


This is what will be on the ground for the first day of spring practice

Like last year’s Temple football team for instance, the last month of weather has been a tease. Those back-to-back 77-degree days of late February have been replaced by some brutal cold since. Since last year ended OK (not great), we’ll say by Cherry and White Day it will be nice and warm.

We think.

The calendar says the Owls start spring practice tomorrow, but it won’t look that way. Spring practice is in the air. Spring, on the other hand, seems a long way away.


At least the new indoor facility is the equal to anything a P5 team has.

Either way, the Temple Owls’ football team will have to deal with the 1-3 inches on the ground or move the first practices of the “spring” a couple of blocks away to the spectacular new $50 million Aramark Star Facility at 15th and Montgomery.

That’s a call for head coach Geoff Collins to make, though.

Bruce Arians used to come to Geasey Field on spring practice days—there was no indoor facility back then—and open with “get your work done” in that Southern accent he developed while a player at Virginia Tech, even though he was from York, Pa.

Either in rain, sleet or snow, the Owls have a lot of work to do to address these questions (in no particular order):

What will Trad Beatty’s role be?

The super quarterback recruit from South Carolina obviously is a Dave Patenaude favorite but, in the entire history of Group of Five football, no true freshman starter has led his team to a G5 league championship. That factor has to be weighed in the development of Beatty and the goal of the Owls to win the 2018 AAC title, just like they did the 2016 one. In Frank Nutile, they have a bowl-winning quarterback and a guy who has the best passing stats in the nation against a rush. Juice will be awfully tough to beat out.

Who are the defensive backfield replacements?

The Owls lose three of their four starters at the key positions of cornerback and safety. The only returner is first-team AAC safety Delvon Randall. They will have to plug around the edges. The speedy Linwood Crump Jr. has the inside track on the left corner spot, while the right corner spot will probably be occupied by Rock Ya-Sin, a first-team All Big South performer who had more interceptions against Wake Forest (one) in 2016 than the whole Temple AAC championship team did.

Other than Ya-Sin, who starts immediately?

My money is on Nickolas Madourie, an incoming junior college transfer from Dakota College at Bottineau in North Dakota. Shortly after former Central Florida coach Scott Frost took the same position at the University of Nebraska earlier this month, Madourie rescinded his verbal commitment from the Knights. Madourie had 45 tackles during his recently completed sophomore season, including 17.5 sacks. If the Owls go three wides on offense, look for true freshman Sean Ryan from NYC to join Isaiah Wright and Ventell Bryant. Me, I hope they scrap the three wides, use a tight end (Kenny Yeboah) and a fullback (Rob “Nitro” Ritrovato).

We should find out the answers to those questions by April 14.

Hopefully, by then, spring will have already arrived.

Wednesday: The Greatest Cherry and White Ever

Fiasco at Mitten Hall


The community asked for answers and responded this way

For today’s social experiment, we ask you to depart the Temple campus–on foot, not vehicle–and proceed to walk East of, say, 9th and Berks for five blocks.

Now walk West of 17th Street on Norris and complete a similar five-block trip to 22d and Norris.


“Temple should pack it up, move to the suburbs, and leave a hole in the ground and a statue of the Mayor and the Council president holding hands.” _ John Chaney, on the opposition to building what is now the LC


That is what the heart of North Philadelphia would look like without Temple University. That’s pretty much life in a lot of inner cities in America. It’s not the fault of the people who live in them, certainly. In Philadelphia, what the neighborhood looks like surrounding Temple is certainly not Temple’s fault.

The community has legitimate concerns about the new stadium Temple wants to build entirely on Temple property and ask the questions they need to and get their answers. In fact, Temple has pretty much hit on all of the key bullet points–no one will be displaced, the Amos Recreation Center will stay right where it is and the stadium would be available for community events.

Yet the session they asked for turned out to be a Mitten Hall Fiasco. I left work and made it in time to see a group of clergy urging their congregation to listen and the congregation having none of it.

The “stadium stompers” asked for the town hall in the guise of a question and answer session. They never allowed it to get to a Q and A, with loud shouts of “YOU LIE!!” that would not allow the event to continue. It was all a ruse. I would say there were more pro-stadium people in the house than anti-stadium but the pro-stadium people sat in what only could be described as polite silence mixed with nauseating disgust.

Why should other urban
universities located
in densely populated
residential neighborhoods,
like Georgia Tech in Atlanta
and Boston College
in Chestnut Hill, Mass.,
have stadiums on property
owned by them and Temple
not be allowed the same right?

Temple set only two ground rules for the meeting and it was no signs were allowed and that civility was expected.

One side broke both rules and ruined it for all sides.

Asking for a Q and A and not allowing questions or answers is the very definition of a ruse. This is pretty much the level of discourse in the U.S. today.

Why should other urban universities located in densely populated residential neighborhoods, like Georgia Tech in Atlanta and Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass., have stadiums on property owned by them and Temple not be allowed the same right? The community did not protest when Temple built a library, a dorm, $30 million of new classrooms and even a $17 million football practice facility but basketball and football arenas somehow cross an imaginary line because they are hot-button issues. The irony of this is that libraries, dorms and classrooms have an impact on the community 350 or so days a year, while a football stadium impacts it only a maximum seven of the 365 days.


5th and Diamond

When the great John Chaney was asked what Temple should do in the face of similar opposition to the building of The Apollo (now the LC), he said, simply this: “Temple should pack it up, move to the suburbs, and leave a hole in the ground and a statue of the Mayor and the Council president holding hands.”

The administration should have followed his advice then. On Tuesday,  it tried to be a good neighbor, but neighborliness is a two-way street. Nobody can say Temple did not hold up its end of the bargain.

Monday: Spring (Practice) is in the Air

Wednesday: Our New Scheduling Buddies

Friday: The Greatest Cherry and White Ever

Monday 3/19: A Rock and A Hard Place

Wednesday (3/21): The Bullhorn Lady

Eye on Atlanta: Root for Georgia Tech


Hopefully, Temple’s stadium will be closer to this than the crude drawing released recently

Hard to believe, Harry (Donahue), that one of the websites that list such things has placed Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson on the hot seat.

A few years ago, Johnson was one of the hottest coaches in the country at The Naval Academy, now he’s sitting on a hot seat. That’s life in the Power 5.

If you are a Temple football fan, you’ve got to root for him and his Georgia Tech team this season because when Owls’ head coach Geoff Collins called Temple “a developmental program” a month ago tomorrow, he probably meant it with his coaching staff, too. Three of four of Collins recent hires are from the state of Georgia and his current defensive coordinator, Andrew Thacker, was a position coach at Kennesaw State (also known as the Owls). Kennesaw is in Cobb County, which is in the Greater Atlanta metropolitan area.

Collins himself as a history at Georgia Tech, being the recruiting coordinator there for the Yellowjackets. If you don’t think this staff is being developed for a place like Georgia Tech, you probably don’t believe that General Billy Sherman burned the town to the ground 168 or so years ago. If Collins does well here this fall, he certainly would move to the top of the Georgia Tech wish list.

So that’s probably what Collins means by a developmental program. Ask him if he considers Georgia Tech a developmental program.

Still, rooting for a solid year from our friend Paul Johnson is almost as good as rooting for the Owls themselves.

That’s the lay of the land, though, in the “developmental” AAC.

In January, Navy head football coach Ken Niumatalolo interviewed for the Arizona opening. While he  decided to remain in Annapolis, had he left the Midshipmen it would have left Tulsa’s Philip Montgomery as the longest-tenured head coach in the American Athletic Conference, after only three seasons with the Golden Hurricane.

Coaching turnover has become a fact of life in the American with six head coaches leaving the AAC for jobs at “power five” schools. Next year, Memphis’ Mike Norvell and USF’s Charlie Strong are sure to attract suitors.

A good year for Paul Johnson probably won’t mean Collins will be here for life, but it would certainly close at least one very attractive door and limit the damage to Temple’s program for at least another year.

How’s that Georgia Tech fight song go again?

Friday: Thoughts on The Mitten Hall Fiasco

Monday: Spring (Practice) is in the Air

Wednesday: Our New Scheduling Buddies


Three Facts and Five Questions

No matter what you call it, the “Town Hall” being held tomorrow night (6:30) at Mitten Hall has all the potential to be either a public relations disaster or a bonanza  for Temple University.

I’m not betting on Hos Cartwright here, though.

Television cameras from all four local stations will be there with the express purpose of finding some sound and fury that would make for good fodder for the 11 p.m. newscast.

If Temple fans who want the stadium show up and dominate the session with applause and support for the ideas presented, that segment would probably find a way to the cutting room floor. If, say, for every 10 people who attend, one voice is against it and nine are for it, the narrative will be “there were some opposed and some in favor” and they will find one voice in favor and one opposed, even if there are more fans for it than against. That’s the way the drive-by media works these days. If no fans show up and only “community” members expressing opposition are there, it will be the top news story of the night.

I think we are going to be somewhere in between those two extremes, though.


It was pretty ingenious for the university to set this town hall up at a time when the students are gone. Most of the “Stadium Stompers” among the students are from relatively far-flung places like Allentown, Lancaster and Scranton and their activism on the topic probably only extends to the time they have to be in North Philly. It’s hard to imagine them giving up a spring break visit to Florida or time home with their Penn State friends for idealism. At least when idealism is not convenient.

President Dick Englert did not even address the stadium when he talked at the recruiting “celebration” on Feb. 7 so to me, the forum presents an opportunity to answer some hard questions that were not even broached then. Here are five of them:


Yulman: Rejected by ESPN

How did the stadium shrink?

Two months ago, when the plans were officially released, the minimum seating was going to be 35,000. Now, we’re hearing “between 30-35 thousand (see above video).” Not good. Why is this important? Because 30,000 will make the stadium look like Tulane’s Yulman Stadium and, by most accounts, that stadium was obsolete the day it opened. All of the Temple fans who I talked to and have been there hated it.  It’s nothing more than a glorified high school stadium and the league told Tulane the TV sightlines and lighting almost made it impossible for ESPN to schedule a night game there. Temple should go bigger (at least 35K) or go home, making the stadium look more like successful ventures like Houston, Cincinnati and Florida Atlantic. Moody Nolan needs to come clean. Will this look more like Tulane or more like FAU?

What, exactly, will go into the retail outlet?

What kind of retail will be considered or will the university build five empty franchises and hope that the market dictates the tenant? Some kind of smaller version of Xfinity Live would work, maybe a WAWA. I wouldn’t put another student bookstore or pizza shop in there, though. When I lived in Doylestown, we desperately needed a grocery store in the center of town. Instead, we got five coffee shops that mostly went out of business because wives of the rich guys who lived there always had the fantasy of opening coffee shops. Build what the students and community will need and support.


Where will the traditional tailgating be held?

We all know that the university is planning to put the thousands of students who now take up a large portion of Lot K into Polett and Liacouras Walks and that’s a terrific idea. SMU has shown how successful that concept can be. Still, how many of the university’s 11 outside parking lots be set aside for more traditional tailgating on Saturdays or are the days of the traditional smaller tailgates over?

What is the timeline?

The university should set a timeline that it expects to meet. City Council approvals by this summer, next summer or the summer after or somewhere in between? At what point does this project cross the Rubicon of no return and what are the options other than Franklin Field if it is abandoned? Temple cannot allow the endless speculation on this to continue and must set some realistic parameters for getting this done.


Does the University Have the Stomach to Play Hardball?

We’re not talking about restoring the baseball program here, although you could probably configure the stadium for those purposes if needed. If the City of Philadelphia does not give the necessary permissions, can the architects reconfigure a stadium that would not require 15th Street to be shut down? That’s what is going to have to happen for the uni to pursue legal action to get this done. An argument can be made that if places like Maryland, Rutgers and Georgia Tech have the legal right to build whatever it wants on property owned by them so, too, should Temple.  Hardball–threatening to move the uni out of Philadelphia–is what ultimately got the LC built and the uni might have to play some sort of hardball to get this done as well. Pete Liacouras had that stomach. Does the current BOT?

Wednesday: Eye on Atlanta

Friday: Reflections From Mitten Hall

What a Revolting Development ….


With only a few seconds in an eminently winnable game NBA at Miami, something stood out like a 6-foot-11 sore thumb.

The Philadelphia 76ers were winning and this decade’s version of “Hack-A-Shack” was in the game. Of course, instead of two 90 percent free throw shooters Mario Bellinelli and J.J. Redick being in there to catch the ball and get fouled and win the game, Ben Simmons was spotted and fouled immediately and the Sixers lost at the buzzer mostly because he missed two free throws.

What does this have to do with Temple football?


Because after the game, Sixers head coach Brett Brown said it was “more important for Simmons’ development” to be in there than it was to win the game.

The word “development” caught my ear because I heard, by my count, Temple football head coach Geoff Collins a derivative of it not one, not two but four times at the recent recruiting celebration. Collins said “we’re a developmental program”  while reviewing some recruiting film and saying a lot of these players are in the developmental stage and are coming here to be developed. It wasn’t the first time he used it. This is what he said in an interview on last May:  “I think this place is a developmental program, so I take pride in that.”

I guess Florida wasn’t a developmental program.

Hmmm. I’m sure Collins means well, but I don’t like the term.

Developmental program is a term I’ve never associated with Temple football before Collins came to town. AAC championship program, yes. Top 25 program, yes. Developmental program, no. While players certainly have been developed and nurtured (the most recent example is Haason Reddick), the primary purpose of Temple football has been to win as many games as possible. If someone got developed along the way, fine, but development was always secondary to playing in championship games.

To me, like the Sixers’ game above, winning is not the most important thing, it’s the only thing. I could not give a rat’s ass about Simmons being in there to learn a lesson, nor could I give a similar derriere for Logan Marchi’s “development” as a quarterback meant keeping him in there for seven games, looking awful against a bad Villanova team and stinking up Lincoln Financial Field in winnable games against Houston and UConn. A seven-game career as a starter was way too long for Marchi, who failed an eye test two games into his starting career and should have earned a permanent spot on the bench.

Big-time college football is a business and, in business, it’s either up or out. Marchi wasn’t treading upward after a brutal Game Two performance against Villanova and should have been out.

One of William Bendix’s catch phrases in the old TV show “Life of Riley” was “What a Revolting Development” and that applies to the word “developmental” and Temple football. A year ago, Collins was touting Temple as a “Top 25 program” and now it’s “developmental program.”

I prefer Top 25, thank you.

Let’s hope Temple never becomes the Sixers and sacrifices a precious game for the development of any single player. The football Owls don’t get to play 82 games a year. They can’t afford to trade wins for development.

Monday: 5 Questions for The Stadium Meeting

Wednesday: Eye On Atlanta

Friday: Reflections on The Town Meeting

3/12: Spring Practice Begins