On the eve of the Toledo game, I wrote that the Owls were walking into an ambush and I did not have a good feeling about that outcome.
I have had a similar feeling in the pit of my stomach for a long time about the proposed new stadium. I kept hoping it was heartburn and it would go away, but now I am more convinced than ever it is not after hearing City Council President Darrell Clarke say this the other day: “I don’t know even five people who are in favor of it.” If he were really considering approving this, his comments at this point would open the door slightly for interpretation by saying things like “we’re going to review this” but the “I don’t know five people” comment is effectively slamming the door shut.
(He must be ignoring the hundreds of Temple students who voted in favor it it in the Temple News poll. Either that, or they don’t count as people in Clarke’s world.)
Not counted among those five is Mayor Kenney, who has been against it from the beginning, thinking that it was nothing more than a Temple ploy to bring down the rent. Temple President Neil D. Theobald debunked that notion while speaking to the student government by saying that the school is committed to building a new stadium for long-term reasons and despite any concessions it gets from the Eagles.
Kenney has also been adamant that this is Clarke’s baby and, if he doesn’t want it, Kenney is going to put the full weight of the city’s political machine against it. I’m particularly not buying the belief of many Temple people that the city wants a handout before they give the go-ahead. I don’t think this falls into the same category as the Liacouras Center. The city is really dead set against this.
I don’t see Temple having the stomach to rage against that machine. That’s too bad because I feel, if push comes to shove, the city would stand a good chance in a more friendly state supreme court if it decided to sue the city for the right to build the stadium. (The state hates the city anyway.) Temple can simply state it has as much right to build a stadium on its property as any other university building (citing no city opposition to Morgan Hall, the Library or the Student Activities Center). It can further point out that similar universities, like Penn State and Rutgers and Maryland have stadiums on their campus and that the city barring Temple from building puts the school at a competitive disadvantage.
The top three administrators at Temple are all Indiana Hoosiers, who could be so shocked by how city politics operates they decide to say bleep it, let’s continue to play at LFF. It all comes down if they decide this is worth the fight.
This is the same bad gut feeling I had before Toledo, and no amount of Alka-Seltzer or arguments to the contrary is going to make me think differently.
Monday: 2017 Mock Temple Draft
Wednesday: For Pete’s Sake
Friday: Spoiling Joe’s 50th