Kicking Stadium Can Down the Road Not a Good Sign

UAB's proposed stadium, since tabled along with its program, was much farther along than Temple's when this plan was proposed in 2011.

UAB’s proposed stadium, since tabled along with its program, was much farther along than Temple’s when this plan was proposed in 2011.

A couple of years ago, a member of the Temple University Board of Trustees whispered something to an ardent Temple fan at the Temple vs. North Carolina State basketball game.

“The stadium is a done deal,” the BOT member said.

That was in March. Not March, 2015. Not March, 2014. If you guessed March, 2013, you would be right.

If it was a done deal then, it has to be the strangest done deal in the history of done deals. Recently, the TU BOT had a chance to talk about the stadium issue in its May, 12, 2015 meeting. It said the stadium  would not be discussed, if there ever really was  a stadium issue. If that sounds familiar, consider the content of this story:


Versus this story:


The “strike one” part of this story pretty much says the exact same thing in the story above about Temple’s BOT meeting.

There was a rumor that there would be some announcement by March 1 and March 1 came and went and there was no announcement. Then there was a rumor that there would be an announcement by Cherry and White Day, April 25, and there was no announcement.

The latest rumor is the hold up is the university is trying to raise $25 million of what could be anything from a $90 million stadium to a $300 million stadium from “Temple boosters”‘ before making an announcement. If that is true, expect the announcement to come, say, in about May of 2068.


Then there was the rumor that the thing would be discussed May 12 and it wasn’t discussed May 12. The next meeting is scheduled for July 14 and that’s the kind of kicking the can down the road that Temple really doesn’t have time to do. Even then, we do not know if the issue—again, if there is an issue—will be discussed at the July 14 meeting.

The current stadium lease for Lincoln Financial runs out at the end of the 2017 season. For a stadium to be built by the start of the 2018 season, it would appear that something has to be decided by July at the latest.  By something, the university really only has two choices—extend the Lincoln Financial Field lease beyond 2017 or close a deal that was rumored to be done two years ago. Any discussion of Franklin Field or PPL Park even as a temporary home does not border on lunacy, it is lunacy.

Bleep or get off the pot, as it were.

Or what happened at UAB could happen here.



40 thoughts on “Kicking Stadium Can Down the Road Not a Good Sign

  1. Not a coincidence, today is Memorial Day

  2. Temple is simply not a school that has an unlimited donor base. Trying to raise 100s of millions seems improbable. Interesting to see the stadium cost could be between 100 and 300 million. Anything up to 150 million could be in the doable range I suppose, even for Temple. Upwards of 300 million is just too much. The Owls expectations will always have a ceiling. It’s just the way it is on North Broad.

  3. Unless something happens in the next six months the B of T will find itself in the same predicament the UAB Board found itself; a small but fervent fan base, a student base mostly apathetic, too few donors, a local media that’s for the most part only interested in the top five conference teams, and a college sports arena that gets more expensive every year especially for those teams not in the top five conferences. Frankly, I wish they would make a decision one way or another because I hate not knowing whether they’ll be a football team to root for in three years.

  4. Speaking of dropping other sports, here’s another twist. If the BOT felt they needed to drop 5-6 non-revenue teams (at just a couple million a year) just to make ends meet, how can they possibly think a multi-100 million dollar stadium is even possible? Oh, maybe that was to pay for the extra rental fee at the Linc. Again I say, considering how they’ve bumbled along all these years, no matter where they play or no matter how they run the football program (middle ground expenditures on facilities, etc.), I don’t think they’ll drop football. They’re comfortable with this half-assed way of doing things – and maybe they’re right considering the poor fan base and fund raising prospects. Winning big just doesn’t matter to them and realistically, it can’t. But fielding a football team does still mean something. Just my opinion.

    • Don’t disagree with you. However, limping along is going to cost tens of millions of dollars and not the couple of million it costs now. As I’ve stated in the past, the president of the university told me at Vanderbilt last year that Lurie wants 27 and one-half million for five years. I think the current deal only cost 15 million.

  5. Speaking of dropping sports teams, here’s a twist. If Temple had to drop 5-6 sports just to save a couple million for the budget annually, how can they possibly even think about spending hundreds of millions for a stadium? Oh, maybe they did that to make up for the extra fees for the Linc? But, as I’ve said before even given their weak fan base and fund raising capabilities I don’t think they’ll drop football no matter where they have to play their games or the middle-of-the-road level of facility upgrades and coaches salaries they come up with. Temple’s BOT as always been satisfied (apparently) with less than satisfactory winning results. I really think just fielding a football team (hopefully now with modest improvement) will always be part of their athletic program plans even if they can never be top flight. But, it all still remains to be seen.

    • I disagree. The last time a vote came to decide Football’s fate it held by a single vote. 9 to 8 I believe was the final tally? Correct me if I’m wrong here, but that’s not a comforting ratio with our recent records and the Linc going up in price.

      I think the majority of the BOT has NOT been satisfied with our level of play, and barely kept the program in existence in hopes that it would turn around. Perfect time to hire Rhule over Bowles right?

      • Not to mention that with every year that goes by the cost or being even a bad D1a football is going to get more expensive. The amount of money the power conferences are making is going to drive up the coaching prices at all levels. You can see this when coordinators are making a million in the P5 conferences.

      • Two votes against football were by Adamany and Cosby, who are no longer on the BOT. Katz, who led the pro-football guys, isn’t either nor is Howard Gittis. Both are in Heaven. Not sure where Bill and David are going once they cross.

    • You can say that again.

  6. Well, Mike I did “say that again”. Sorry about the repeat but I thought my first comment didn’t get posted. Anyway, Tractorr’s comment about rising costs driven by the P-5 conferences could be the determining factor determining whether Temple keeps football at all – or drops down to D-1AA (which seems less costly to run?). When the P-5 conferences are all that’s left, the NCAA will be happy. And I’m still a bit pissed about men’s track & field being cut since I was on the team back in the day – and a friend of mine was on the men’s gymnastics team, also dropped. So if football is cut (or reduced), I certainly hope they reinstate all the dropped sports teams – they’re all part of the college experience fabric. Seems like temple’s BOT has not done a very good job with this football thing even with spending millions and dropping other teams, in what seems like some grand experiment.

    • Keeping football above all else has been my major goal at Temple, but not 2-10 or 4-7 or even 6-6 football. I want to keep the kind of football we had for three-straight years at Temple in the 2000s–winning football. I want the kind of football we had in two of Bruce Arians’ short five years–winning football. I want to keep the kind of football we had at Temple for four-straight years under coach Hardin–winning football. If we do not start winning and sustaining, not worth keeping. To me, our BOT not being transparent about a stadium or even making a statement about wanting a stadium is a clear sign that they are hedging their bets on a stadium now and will not go forward until Matt Rhule proves to them he can post at least 1 winning season. Otherwise, I have to believe the nuclear option is in play until I see a shovel in the ground or a Linc extension signed.

    • I don’t remember the exact numbers but I recall reading a study that was done which indicated that the cost savings between D-1 and D-1AA weren’t that substantial aside from less scholarship’s at the 1AA level. The big problem for Temple football even dropping down is the same as what this thread is about, where would the team play?

      • they are either staying or dropping the sport altogether. FCS football at the Linc is not an option nor will they build a new stadium just to play FCS football. Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing (especially now).

  7. Maybe I am oversimplifying but is it possible the BOT is using the 2015 season as the ultimate test of whether we should continue to field a football team. With both PSU and Notre Dame coming to town and a competitive returning group of players, it seems that this is a pretty good year to assess whether we have a viable long term product and if we should be talking stadium or ending the program. I wonder if the BOT has looked at it like this and has specific goals both on the field and in the stands in regards to the long term future of the stadium issue and program. Season ticket sales will be key. PSU and ND will draw 60K each. The excitement of those games needs to have an effect on the other 4 however if I was judging the long term viability of the program.

    • in my mind, that’s the only reason for the delay. the bot is meeting in July and October and we will not hear a single word about a stadium in either meeting and the only possible reason is they are hedging their bets on this being a winning 8-9-type win season. Only then will they go forward and talk about a stadium in the Dec. meeting.

    • 70K each … ticket sales for both games are way ahead of 2007 when the Owls and Nits drew 70K …and even farther ahead of 2011 when the Owls and Nits drew 57K (30K Temple, 27K PSU). Only the second time in my memory when the game was pretty much an even split (75 game had 30K cherry pom-poms waving proudly).

      • A few things, the hold up for the stadium is getting the local community demands met and city buy-in before making any sort of public announcement. what the university can’t have is an announcement followed by local community objections or outrage. the local community and certain city councilmen have been playing hardball with Temple by delaying the discussions which could lead to an agreement.

        the best thing Temple could now is win. albeit minus a reliable kicker, this Temple team has the most talent since the last two AG teams. The stars are aligning with the home game schedule this year which will allow us to average around 30k per game for the season. we have to go to a bowl in back to back seasons and generate some internal momentum. If Rhule doesn’t pull of a bowl this coming year then he should be gone.

      • Mike, I don’t think the attendance for the PSU and ND games matter other than you would like to see at least 50% cherry vs. blue or gold. The BOT will be more interested in the other 4 games and whether the momentum of some expectations and two very high profile games can draw more than the same 20,000 to the AAC conference games. We are lucky to get one high profile game every two to three years, this year is special and both the team and alumi need to take advantage of it.

  8. The comments about the importance of having success this upcoming season mirror what many of us have said since Matt Rhule was hired. What we’ve been saying and what the MRA’s refused to understand was that there was no time to allow Rhule to grow into the job and that the six or seven games over the last two seasons he lost because of inexperience were possible program killers as far as we were concerned.That conclusion was based on the changing college football landscape and the ambivalence of TU’s student body, which clearly consists of fair weather friends. On top of that, with no PSU or Notre Dame type schools on the schedule it will be very difficult to meet attendance requirements if the team is mediocre, It also will be all but impossible to convince the B of T that it should commit to making a multimillion dollar expenditure just for a place to play when there is no indication that more students and fans will attend.

    • Coach Rhule took over a team of freshman and sophomores who were mainly MAC recruited players moving to a superior conference. After a miserable first season the team showed growth and improvement last year. last year showed the team growing up. this season a lot of experts r picking Temple to be a breakout team. The reason that Temple has a lot of national buzz is because those freshman & sophomores are now juniors and seniors. the recruits are AAC caliber recruits. Rhule has recruited 4 stars all over the roster. the defense was one of the best in the nation last year.

      But the MRH will tell u that the Temple program is in the dumps. they ignore the growth last year. their delusion tells them that Rhule should have taking over a young team going into a better conference and went 12-0.

      Is Coach Rhule perfect? of course not. but i’m happy with the direction the program is headed.

      • Amazing how coach Rhule could take a 4-7 team with 16 starters back from a team that won at Uconn and turn it into a 2-10 team that lost to a worse Uconn team, a FCS team and the worst FBS team maybe in the last 25 years and then people can say how remarkable the improvement was the next year. That’s like the French saying after De Gaulle led a free French tank division into Paris that the French Army improved so much since getting run by the Germans four years prior. Charles was a nice guy, too, but Rommel was his Tommy Tuberville.

      • Fair enough assessment so I’m assuming based on what you are saying anything less than 8 to 10 wins this season should be considered a failure since Houston and Memphis were able to do that with CUSA recruited players

      • No one here hates Matt Rhule. However, anyone who says that he’s undeserving of criticism and finds fault with those who questioned his game day decisions is delusional. An experienced coach would have had six more wins at least. Had the team won those games this season would not be as pivotal as it is for the future continuation of the program.

  9. Not that I want to see Temple drop to FCS at all, but if they did seems like they would save significant money on travel costs if nothing else (assuming they would join a conference on the east coast, like Nova) and they could play home games anywhere, because who would give a crap. But I would hate to see that happen.
    I still don’t think this whole thing comes down to doing a stadium or dropping football as the only options. If the AAC doesn’t care if they play at FF, stay in the LINC or whatever, Temple would still have a solid Div. FBS football situation. And here’s another thought. What if the BOT is waiting to see if there is any interest from a P-5 conference (before building a stadium), ie. ACC, Big 10, taking advantage of the Philly market whether temple is ready for that level of competition or not? Just a thought.

    • Heard on Cherry and White that there is some interest from the ACC and also that there’s talk of starting a men’s lacrosse team. Philly’s location in the 4th largest media market is attractive. However, without a dedicated place to play for the foreseeable future I can’t see it happening.

    • I would think that the AAC cares where Temple plays primarily from the stand point of having control of their home schedule for broadcast purposes. My guess would be that Temple would not have the same level of control at FF.

  10. taken from AAC Football Fever

    ESPN’s computers are saying Temple (yes, the school from Philly) is the strongest team from the AAC heading into 2015; ahead of last year’s AAC co-champions Cincinnati, Memphis and UCF, and the two other 2014 bowl participants from the conference, ECU and Houston. The Owls (6-6, 4-4 AAC in 2014) return nine starters on offense, all eleven defensive starters next season, and three of their six losses last year were by eight points or fewer.

    Yup this program is in the dumps!

    And Mike those 16 starters were MAC players stepping up to a superior league.

  11. So now they might want to start a LX team? How about reinstating some of the dropped teams first like baseball and men’s T & F and men’s gymnastics first – you know, the ones that were at Temple for a century before?
    All those prognostications about rating Temple at the head of the AAC will only happen if the schemes really do change and the game-day coaching improves, no matter how good the players are. But it sure sounds good!

    • We’ve all seen the predictions before … heck, even Bobby Wallace had a team that was predicted in the top 25 pre-season (by Temple needs a great running game and a great running back. Temple has NEVER … and I repeat NEVER … had a great running game without a great lede blocking fullback. Every success offensively works off the threat of an effective running game. If these coaches do not understand even that most basic principle of football at Temple, they do not deserve a winning season. This is what they’ve got to work on now and through summer camp. I have my hopes but I always have my doubts with the Tennessee-Chattanooga guy still being here.

  12. It may mean nothing but UAB reinstated football. May give the B of T second thoughts if they were considering killing the program.

    • Yeah, I think the firestorm would be 10x more if Temple were to do what UAB did. Much more tradition and caring about football at Temple among the alumni than a lot of people might think. Look at our crowds at Homecoming. Outstanding whether the opponent is Kent State or Bowling Green.

  13. All comments about this season being the determining factor in doing a stadium or not seems a bit unrealistic. With Temple’s football history and more recently the quick, negative turn-around from winning to losing seasons again, how can the BOT rely on the results of just one season (assuming its a good season) to invest as much as 100s of millions into the program if success on the field is the deciding factor? Wouldn’t the reasonable approach be to see if success becomes sustainable AND to see if success actually leads to greater attendance and donations? But then again, one season as a determination would fit the Temple BOT decision-making profile. And if it’s a mediocre to poor season will they drop football OR have the balls to fire Rhule and get a proven, successful head coach to give things another decent chance? Because we all know anything can happen! Of course I’m hoping for a real nice season but as a long time fan I know it’s not guaranteed.

    • The reason many of us have focused on this season is because of the expiration of the Linc lease and the necessity to commit to a multimillion dollar lease for five years. Without a strong showing of success, the B of T may just capitulate to those intent on killing the program. It also stems from the changing college landscape and the need to spend even more money to compete with the five favored conferences.

    • I am not sure that success this year guarantee’s the viability of an on campus stadium but I am pretty sure that failure to improve on overall attendance figures when you have two marquee matchups at home in the same year. If I am the BOT I am looking at the attendance of the 4 non marquee matchups to see if there is an increase in attendance due to more season ticket sales related to ensuring good seats for PSU and ND and if we actually win one or both of those games does winning and a buzz about the program actually help in a material way. I think it is safe to say that we have pretty much topped out in attendance non counting marquee non conference matchups in the low 20’s. Much better than the dark days of the 1990’s and early 2000’s but not good enough to justify building a 40,000 seat stadium. If you have a business model that includes one marquee matchup per year and a competitive team and you can fill 75% of a 40,000 seat stadium on a regular basis then it becomes a much easier sell. Unless the team just tanks, i.e. gets killed by both PSU and ND, we have to show that we can put upper 20’s consistently for non marquee matchups. Then add one marquee matchup at 40K+ and you have your 30K ave. If we cant do it this year we never will baring a national title run. So look at this year not so much as a decision whether or not to build but one in which the BOT might decide that building is not an option or in the best case that it is still a possibility.

  14. Getting into a power five conference is complicated.., first of all you have to be invited. Temple must provide compelling reasons why one of those conference should consider offering an invite.

    Academically we are almost there, fan base is poor at best, facilities outside of an on campus stadium are acceptable, TV market is good, consistent winning program is TBD

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