Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Temple joins the Big East

NEW YORK (3/7/12) – Temple University will move its intercollegiate athletic programs into the BIG EAST Conference, beginning with football in 2012, and all sports in 2013-14. The announcement was made today in New York City at the annual BIG EAST men’s basketball tournament.

Temple’s football program, which has experienced an impressive competitive resurgence since 2005 as a member of the Mid-American Conference, will begin play in the BIG EAST Conference beginning with the 2012 football season. All other sports, including Temple’s men’s and women’s basketball programs, will leave the Atlantic 10 Conference and begin play in the BIG EAST starting in 2013-14.

This will be the first time in Temple’s history in which its intercollegiate athletic programs will compete in one conference.

The change will also create immediate financial opportunities that will benefit Temple Athletics and the university. Temple’s costs associated with the move to the BIG EAST, in particular the withdrawal fees owed to the MAC and the A-10 conferences, will be paid from added athletics revenues that the school will receive from its new conference.

“This is arguably the greatest day in the history of Temple Athletics,” said Bill Bradshaw, Temple’s director of athletics.  “For the first time we will have all of our athletic programs playing in one conference, and there is no conference that is a better fit for Temple than the BIG EAST. It also will provide a national platform in a BCS conference for our teams and student-athletes to compete with other highly respected educational institutions. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the BIG EAST and its member schools.”

Temple has been a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference for basketball and other sports since 1982-83. The sixth winningest program in NCAA history, Temple men’s basketball program is one of the most storied and successful in the country. Two of its former coaches, Harry Litwack and John Chaney, are in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Its current coach, Fran Dunphy, is one of the most respected and accomplished coaches in the game today. His Temple teams have won the Atlantic 10 championship in three of the last four years, and are this year’s regular season A-10 champions. The team will compete in the A-10 tournament this coming weekend.

The Temple women’s basketball program has become a national power over the past decade, garnering NCAA tournament bids in each of the past eight years. Current Coach Tonya Cardoza has five national championships as an assistant coach at Connecticut and has taken the Owls to the NCAA tournament every year since her 2008 arrival at Temple. The program has posted 20 or more wins in each of the last nine seasons.

“We have enjoyed a very long and successful association with the A-10 and its member schools,” stated Bradshaw. “We have developed some intense rivalries in this very competitive and well-regarded conference, and we will continue to schedule those schools. We wish the A-10 every success in the future.

“We also owe a debt of gratitude to the Mid-American Conference for giving our football program a welcoming home at a time when we were struggling greatly. The Mid-American Conference is a tough conference and its teams compete at a very high level,” Bradshaw added. “And the MAC responded to our request to leave this year with courtesy and grace, which is reflective of the level of good sportsmanship that exists in the MAC.”

“This is another positive move in Temple’s astounding transformation over the past decade,” stated Patrick J. O’Connor, the chairman of Temple’s Board of Trustees. “Temple has become a destination residential university with first-class academic and living facilities, where academic achievement and research activity have grown substantially. Temple is on an exciting upward trajectory, and becoming a member of the BIG EAST Conference reflects Temple’s growing stature in American higher education.”

“This move will benefit Temple financially as well as competitively,” explained Lewis Katz, the chair of the Athletics Committee of Temple’s Board of Trustees. “We are grateful to the BIG EAST for working cooperatively with us to structure our payments in a way that assures that the move is a win in all respects.”

“On behalf of all of Temple’s 39,000 students, its more than 550 student-athletes, their coaches and the entire Temple family, I would especially like to thank BIG EAST Commissioner John Marinatto and all the presidents and chancellors of the member schools for welcoming us into their midst. Temple is very excited to become a member of the BIG EAST,” said Katz.

In 2012, the BIG EAST football membership will consist of Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, USF, Syracuse, andTEMPLE. Beginning in 2015, the BIG EAST football membership will consist of Boise State, UCF, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Louisville, Navy, Rutgers, San Diego State, USF, SMU, and TEMPLE.

In 2013-14, the BIG EAST basketball membership will include UCF, Cincinnati, Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Houston, Louisville, Marquette, Memphis, Notre Dame, Providence, Rutgers, St. John’s, Seton Hall, SMU, USF, TEMPLE, and Villanova. 


“On behalf of Temple University, our football program, alumni and the City of Philadelphia, we are very proud to become a member of the BIG EAST Conference in all sports. Our university is one of the fastest growing athletic programs in the country.  Our new state-of-the-art facilities, located in the fourth largest media market in the country, give us a great platform for success.  Having been a part of the BIG EAST before while at Syracuse, I know what a great conference we are in. Temple is a natural fit in a very exciting national conference.  This is a great time for Temple University, the BIG EAST, and Philadelphia.”
-- Steve  Addazio, football head coach

“The news of us joining the BIG EAST is bittersweet. The Atlantic 10 has been a first-class conference from top to bottom with great leadership and outstanding coaches. Obviously, the BIG EAST is one of the premier conferences in the country and being a part of it will elevate our program on many levels. We look forward to competing in the A-10 for another season.”
-- Tonya Cardoza, women’s basketball head coach

“Over the last three decades we have built great relationships and wonderful rivalries in the Atlantic 10 Conference.   Now, with the changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics, we are able to have all of our sports in one conference – The BIG EAST Conference.  So, after next season, we will be saying goodbye to old friends, which is never easy, but making new ones which is exciting.  We look forward to the challenge of competing in the BIG EAST Conference, and continuing to represent Temple in best possible way.”
-- Fran Dunphy, men’s basketball head coach

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