Roughly six years ago, a Temple University Board of Trustees member told a friend of mine at the NCAA Tournament that a football stadium on campus was a “done deal.”
My friend has a lot deeper pockets than me and often traveled to see the football team in remote Middle Atlantic Conference places like Mt. Pleasant, Michigan and Oxford, Ohio, with reports about the Temple fan presence there.
Often, he was it–the guy who was invited to home tailgates by the Central Michigan and Fake Miami fans like an alien who landed in a flying saucer.
This December, his move to Coral Gables, Florida made him a more likely prospect than I to make the Gasparilla Bowl and he bellied up to President Dick Englert at a pre-game function and dropped the question about whether or not Temple will build a new football stadium.
“We’ll see,” the coy Englert said.
Well, we saw a little bit on Thursday when the university announced to the world that the stadium is presenting plans to the city for the building of a “multi-purpose facility.” Notice the word “multi-purpose.” If it had been “a stadium” the already negative view of many of the city pols would have been further polarized.
Make no mistake about what happened Thursday.
This is not the end of the stadium process but the end of the beginning. The end is a long, long way away.
It was nice to finally see an artist’s conception of the stadium. To me, that was disappointing. The seats are too slopped back and not on top of the field. Some tinkering needs to be done on the architects’ end. Make the stadium like Boston College here and we’re in; otherwise, where is the Temple home field advantage?
The timeline that many stadium proponents state continues to be: Shovel in the ground by August, stadium done by 2019.
For someone who has lived in Philadelphia all of my life and knows the ins and outs of the corrupt political system here, that’s a pipe dream.
Figure on two years of hassle with the city and a shovel in the ground by 2019 at best. At worst, figure a thumbs’ down from the city and an extended Linc lease. I’m a lean toward a stadium at Temple because I think the ceiling for interest in Temple football is 35K at best. That still looks horrible in a 70K stadium and perception to many is reality. Still, to think that today’s announcement puts this on a fast track to completion is pure fallacy.
Plan on going to that stadium for the opener maybe 2021 but more likely 2022.
I will have to eat a lot more salads, drink a lot fewer beers and work out about two extra hours a day to definitively say I will see The Promised Land with you but I promise to try.
From what I’ve been told by my Philadelphia City Council peeps, there are 10 elected members and seven at-large members. For this to pass in the county, there will have to be nine votes. Right now, Temple can count on four. Getting to nine will not be impossible, but it will be close to impossible.
This is not the end but the end of the beginning. The end of the end could be longer than anyone knows. In short, not a done deal by a longshot.
Monday: Five Unanswered Questions