Without a large endowment or big-ticket donors, fans of the Temple football team will have to hope one of the school’s season ticket holders hits Saturday’s $800 million Powerball Jackpot because the school’s current plans to build a stadium are woefully inadequate.
Then, they have to hope that fan has a large and generous heart and a warm and fuzzy feeling toward Matt Rhule’s team.
Temple is planning on spending $100 million to build an on-campus stadium similar in size to Wake Forest’s BB&T Stadium and that is just not good enough if the Owls hope to position their football team into a Power 5 Conference a few years down the line. Wake Forest’s stadium seats 31,700 and that is the smallest of the P5 schools, just ahead of fellow ACC member Duke (33,941) and Pac-12 member Washington State (32,952).
The difference between those schools and Temple is that all three of them have been grandfathered into the P5, charter members of established conferences long before the latest round of musical chairs added some new money from a former Big East school like Louisville. The schools Louisville left behind became the AAC, of which Temple is now a member. Louisville brought with it a 55,000-seat stadium that was filled on a regular basis.
No new teams bring 30,000-seat stadiums and surely the Owls’ administration has to be smart enough t realize that. Fellow AAC teams with P5 aspirations bring larger stadiums, as Memphis seats 61,008, Connecticut 40,642, Houston 40,000 and Cincinnati 35,097. Temple is going to have to build a stadium of similar size or its entire athletic program could be marginalized into oblivion when the P5 splits from the G5, a fate many believe is inevitable.
That’s why the athletic department fund raisers are certain to check the roll of season ticket holders against the names of the Powerball winners next week. It could be their last best hope to build a functional stadium.
Tomorrow: Package Deals