Continued from page 1

“It’s hard to say,” he said. “It really depends on the moving parts out there. This conference looks much different than it did five months ago and even a year ago when we were looking at the issue of moving up. We want to be in position, and the conference has tangibly encouraged us, to try and be in a position that if there is an opportunity that comes up during that period of time, that we’re poised and ready to do it.”

After Connecticut won at the Big East tournament on Wednesday, coach Jim Calhoun called Temple “a great addition.”

“They’ve got a tremendous coach,” he said. “It’s a great city for basketball, and I know that it will make an incredible trip there for a lot of folks.”

The Big East has a vacancy next season because West Virginia is being allowed to leave immediately for the Big 12. The school and the conference settled competing lawsuits, and the Big East will receive $20 million from West Virginia in return for setting aside its 27-month notification period.

Big East presidents voted unanimously Wednesday to invite Temple.

With the Owls’ departure, the MAC has adjusted its football divisional alignment. Bowling Green will compete in the East Division that will consist of seven schools. The West Division will have six members.

“It’s been no secret that Temple has wanted to be in the Big East across the board for many, many years,” Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said.

A-10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade also wasn’t surprised Temple leapt at the opportunity to put all its teams in one league.

“Given the fact that Temple is still with us for a full year is a luxury,” she said of her conference, which currently has 14 members. “We’re in a position of strength right now, so we can be pretty deliberate if we decide we want to expand, by how many, and what would be the best match.”

The Big East has added seven schools since December, but most of them are planning to join in 2013, so the conference was hoping one new member would replace West Virginia on the schedule next season. The largest impact of Temple’s addition, though, may be in men’s basketball the following year. The Owls give the league another perennially strong program to help make up for the eventual losses of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Pitt and Syracuse have said they won’t fight the Big East for an early exit, though Commissioner John Marinatto reiterated that the conference would be open to discussing the Panthers and Orange leaving after the 2012-13 season. Navy is committed to become a football-only member in 2015.

The Big East will eventually have 13 football schools and 18 overall. The conference hopes to someday have 14 in football.

Marinatto and Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw first met 16 months ago at a diner on the New Jersey-New York border. Their discussions intensified over the past few weeks.

The MAC has had 13 football schools since Temple joined in 2007. Last year, the league added Massachusetts as a football-only member beginning in 2012. At the same time, the MAC put in place new exit provisions requiring any football-only member wishing to leave the conference to provide advance notice of two football seasons and pay a fee of $2.5 million.

Temple and the MAC negotiated a deal where the Owls would leave immediately and pay $6 million.

Story Continues →