Long before Donald Trump popularized the term “Fake News” it applied to one story surrounding Temple football.
At least for me.
From this perspective, the proposed new stadium on campus is and has always been “Fake News.”
Yet every thread on a message board about it will have about 1,000 responses, more than any other issue involving Temple athletics.
The term “done deal” about the stadium was first spoken by a member of the board of trustees to a big-time donor at the North Carolina State vs. Temple basketball game in 2013.
It is now 2017 and there hasn’t been a single shovel in the ground or a bulldozer on site.
I hate to tell this to the stadium backers, but there won’t be.
To understand that is to understand the political climate in the city.
It’s frosty toward Temple. Downright frigid.
Former President Peter J. Liacouras had to fight tooth and nail to get the Apollo of Temple built, and the reward for that fight was taking that great name off the facility and putting his name on it.
Liacouras had to resort to the “Nuclear Option” to get it done: Threaten to move Temple out of the city. There is no more “Nuclear Option” anymore simply because of the result of the investment Temple has made its campus since then.
Temple’s current leadership doesn’t have the stomach for the threat or the Capital to bribe the city for getting this done. A bare-bones $130 million price tag is all you need to know about how little money they want to spend. There is no extra money set aside for a community center, a health clinic or anything else that might sweeten the pot for the community.
Sure, they have done all of the requisite things to pave the way for the stadium, including clearing the Geasey Field area for the build.
It will not matter, though, if they cannot get the proposal through City Council and Temple has very few if any votes to get that done.
That’s why the most recent development–a CEO for Moody Nolan telling the press that the whole idea is “on hold” for now, followed by a hasty denial from Temple, tells you all you need to know about the project.
Temple, no doubt, told Moody Nolan that the whole idea was on hold, while mantaining the difficult balancing act of telling its big-ticket donors that it is not.
Who to believe?
When real news conflicts with fake, go for the preponderance of evidence. In my mind, it leads to one conclusion: They have realized they cannot do it with the makeup within this current City Council and, unless Mayor Kenney and Councilman Clarke show up with hardhats and shovels soon, on hold means tabled.
They never had all of their ducks in a row and that’s why this never was a real story in the first place.