New BOT chair hints stadium “out of our control”

oldstadium

The original Temple Stadium at Pickering and Cheltenham Aves.

What’s out of our control?

For Temple football, injuries to the offensive line or quarterback could turn a potential championship season into another mediocre bowl run.

That’s out of our control.

Yet, in a recent interview in the Temple News, new Temple University Board of Trustees chairman Mitchell Morgan hinted that something else also important to the future of the program was “out of our control” and that is a place to play.

This is what Morgan, a real estate developer who helped bring to fruition Morgan Hall (one of the best student residences in the country), had to say about an on-campus football stadium in a recent Temple News interview:

 

“It would be great to have an on-campus stadium,” he added. “But if it’s not in the cards, then we will find another place to play football, but it’s out of our control.”

Since everyone in the administration refuses to even comment on the stadium issue pretty much since last March’s (2018) disastrous meeting with the community at Mitten Hall, that statement is about as revealing as anything. Even athletic director Pat Kraft, in an interview with CBS radio’s Zach Gelb, pulled a Sargent Schultz when he said “I really don’t know anything” about where a stadium stands. New head coach Rod Carey hasn’t uttered a word about the proposed stadium, at least in print, and former coach Geoff Collins’ only statement was that he would help the university in any way he could. I doubt Manny Diaz even knew the uni was considering a stadium. Matt Rhule said he was in favor of a stadium “if done right” and Al Golden was the first coach to bring up how important building an on-campus stadium was back in 2006.

Those aren’t the top guys, though. Mitchell Morgan now is.

newstadium

The current proposed location at 15th and Norris seems to be a no-go for a stadium

” … but if it’s not in the cards, then we will find another place to play football, but it’s out of our control.”

That’s an important comment from the top guy because Temple currently has no place to play football next year and that’s troubling. The hope is that Jeffrey Lurie extends the Lincoln Financial Field lease, but that has not happened yet and both Franklin Field and Chester are unacceptable options, one where the Owls would not have control and the other where 18,000 seating is just too small for a team that averaged 28,765 fans last year.

The irony is that this really is in Temple’s control if it wanted to think big. The university already plays almost 100 intercollegiate events at its $22 million Olympic stadium complex at Broad and Masters and it would be able to shoe-horn a 35,000 seat stadium into that spot if it wanted. Those neighbors probably would trade six events a year for the 100 and moving the Olympic teams back to 15th and Norris would not require shutting down 15th Street, which is the major obstacle.

It’s a King Solomon-like solution that the university apparently does not want to pursue but it’s certainly one that is within its control.

Monday: Finally, Game Week Is Here

24 thoughts on “New BOT chair hints stadium “out of our control”

    • I posted some time ago that that ship already sailed because of the new building being erected at Broad and Girard. They started construction there several years ago. I also said at the time the new athletic facility was being planned, that TU was making a big mistake and that has turned out to be the case. I am also on the record when the stadium was first announced that TU already botched the project by not getting prior approval from the mayor, City Council, the “neighbors” (in actuality less than 2 dozen people; the rest are just rabble-rousers looking for a payout), and the unions. Without two of the four on your side it is impossible to get a dog house built in this city never mind a stadium that requires permanently closing a city street. With just two of the above, it would be difficult at best. The administration either forgot how tough it was to get permission to built the BB arena and how corrupt this City is or thought that getting approval was a mere formality. To get the BB arena approved, the school had to make a “pledge” of 5 million to John Street, the city councilman at the time. How could anyone think that something similar would not be required here? If they thought it would be a piece of cake to get approval, they forgot where they were or just were being arrogant. And as far as Lurie goes, it’s horrible that he’s essentially stealing money from TU by making the demands he has for an extension. Other NFL teams charge schools the cost of opening and running the stadium on game day. They are not looking to make money. The blame for that again rests largely with the administration which did not pressure those in charge to include TU as a permanent lessee and also to demand a seat at the table when the Linc was first suggested. Why didn’t someone say hey what about us? Clearly, no one did or else this would not now be an issue. Just another example of negligence and lack of foresight, something that is endemic to the university. A smart administration would have been involved from the moment the Linc was a gleam in Lurie’s eyes. Lurie, by the way, wants 25 million in total for a new deal. Talk about extortion and a slap to the face of the face of the university and it’s alums. This may be the issue that finally sounds the death knell for TU football.

      • ESPN 30 for 30: eagles terminate TUFB.

        How the State of Pennsylvania and City of Philadelphia allowed the eagles to swindle a public university and kill a promising program, TUFB.

        Kevin Negandhi where are you?

      • I’m very concerned about the “forever” part of Temple football forever. Temple cannot play at Franklin Field with all the emphasis on controlling TV time. Temple cannot play at Chester because it would lose 1/3 of the money it already is making on ticket sales. What are the other options? None. Jeffrey Lurie has the uni by the gonads and I bet he squeezes.

  1. Lurie’s treatment of the Owls greatly diminishes my love for the Eagles.

    Multi-millionaires like Lurie receive sweetheart stadium deals and charge $40 for parking. Yet their liberal smugness allows them to be environmentally conscious and install wind turbines in their stadiums and other bullshit like signs reminding people to place their garbage in the proper bins. All the while Lurie travels in a private jet and a 500 series Mercedes Benz.

    • Bottom line is will the blowback be enough to Lurie to give Temple a fair deal. Other than Temple grads in the state legislature and state court system, which there are many, I don’t think he has anything to worry about. “Joe Philadelphia” doesn’t give two hoots about Temple and probably would not mind if Temple didn’t chew up the Eagles’ precious field. Conversely, though, you can’t claim that you are “for the neighborhood” if you are a Philadelphia politician who blocks Temple building on its own property but does nothing to pressure the Eagles to give Temple a fair deal. These deals are usually done by now. The fact that nothing is in writing and we’re 12 months away from having no home stadium is ridiculous.

    • Lurie is an a-hole for his treatment of a public institution. Temple grads in state and local government need to call him out. Why is everyone so afraid of Laurie?

      By the way, those prominent members of our BOT need to make a public case for TUFB at the Linc, fair and decent deal.

      Another crazy chapter in TUFB. Even UConn is laughing at us.

      • KJ that’s the point I’m making. The school didn’t do the prep work to make this a reality. The unfortunate thing is that I’m afraid that Mike’s right when he says too many people are ambivalent about TU football. Too many years of losing and a lack of a large fan base coupled with a total love affair with the Eagles makes it tough for TU. The Egles winning the Super Bowl just made the problem worse because Lurie now can do no wrong.

      • Couple of things: 1) they could have put that trade union building or library or both at 15th and Norris, not Broad and Master; 2) If they put the stadium where the library now is (in the center of campus), the neighbors would have no say about a stadium since it would be surrounded by university property and not abutting the neighbors at all. There is a history of obstruction (look at the building of the LC) with our neighbors that was known long before this process began and something a good BOT and administration would have taken into account before moving forward. Of course, with the library and trade union center being built and the stadium not (as John has said) that ship has sailed. The first of the three boats built should have been the stadium. They built the life rafts before they built the Oceanliner and now the football program is the Titanic headed for an iceberg.

  2. if youre watching florida miami you can take a look at our future of awful tackling that gives the game back to the inferior team

  3. I love the Linc for football, tailgating is great and lots of room for us. Of course can’t fill it unless PSU or others are there, but even so I like watching games there.
    Moving the stadium to the new sports complex that we already have would be good if we can get some tailgating space. Otherwise you lose the game day feel without any tailgating.
    Broad and Norris was not a great site, just the only one that would fit a stadium.
    I hope we stay at the Linc or build somewhere with tailgating.

  4. Your last 2 paragraphs pretty much sum it all up Mike. Seems like the BOT doesn’t want to consider the multi-sports field because it would be an admittance of previous poor planning. Either that or they just can’t raise the funds and don’t want to admit it.

  5. Also: I may be the only TU fan to say this but Lurie doesn’t want TU playing down there unless he can increase the ripoff deal. So, if FF is the only available venue regardless of all it’s faults (it does seat enough spectators and the field itself is at least adequate) TU may not have any choice (assuming Penn would do it). Other than that an off-campus stadium is the only other option – where?, costs? etc.

    • the best thing about beating your head against the wall is it feels so good when you stop.

      as much as I love TUFB the BOT should either solve the stadium problem or terminate the program.

      Their inaction and incompetence is costly, and completely unfair to students, players, and fans.

      • Stopping the beating of your head against the wall may feel better but in this case (stadium woes) we’re still left with a big headache, lol. It’s hard to believe the BOT could be so poor at planning – maybe underneath it all they want to drop the FB program? For me, after decades of following the team with all it’s ups and downs (mostly downs), no matter how crappy Lurie has been and still is, and no matter how much it costs in rent, I’d hate to see TU FB tank – we’re having too much fun and success right now.

      • To borrow a phrase from Jill Biden, temple has to “swallow hard” and accept Lurie’s terms because this was so poorly planned. This whole thing would make for a great 60 minutes episode.

    • Unfortunately, they have set themselves up for extortion by complaining that the Eagles’ fee was so high they had no choice but to build a stadium. They never figured a stadium would be politically impossible for their primary location. This is what happens when you bring people from Bloomington to run a university in a city so corrupt it would make Tamney Hall seem like a convent by comparison. Did the Bloomington neighbors block Indiana from building a stadium on that campus? That’s a foreign concept for a guy like Kraft or his former boss Theobald.

  6. I’m suggest the following if the stadium situation gets dire. If the politicians can’t pressure Laurie, some sort of public relations campaign maybe should be undertaken. To include TV adds if the situation gets that dire. I’d emphasize the following points:

    1. With the failure to build an on campus stadium, the Linc is Temple’s ONLY option for continuing the FB program. Without a reasonable rent from the Eagles, the program can’t be continued.

    2. TU is truly Philadelphia’s University. Anyone that grew up in the Philadelphia area has some connection to this University. I took swimming lessons there in the late 50’s, took summer courses there, put a daughter through TU, attended a number of Police Academy graduations there, got medical care at the University Hospital, know dozens of other family members and friends that attended TU etc.

    3. Empathize recent success including Game Day show before ND game.

    4. My guess is 80% of Eagles spectators are from outside Philadelphia and probably half of those are from NJ. (These stats would need research.). But try to embarrass the local politicians about how stadium financing ended up benefitting suburbanites.

    5. Let it be known that Eagle Ownership isn’t from Philadelphia and doesn’t appreciate TU’s history and role in the city.

    6. Emphasize that if the FB program doesn’t survive, a lot of young people will not get to attend TU on athletic scholarship. Not just football players. Without CFB, the Title 9 scholarships to women’s programs gets reduced. With some sports possibly eliminated. And the number of kids in the Music programs also probably gets reduced. The number of students affected by the elimination of FB could be in the hundreds.

    7. Research the rental terms of other CFB programs using pro stadiums. And mention the differences if they are that much more reasonable than what Eagles want. Also mention use other pro teams allow such as high school games.

    8. And if they get the Eagles to be more reasonable, promise to limit the number of regular season games to 6. (And eliminate an FCS game that would make 7 home games.)

    I’m sure other points could be made.

    • Easy Owls outlines eight great points.

      However we all know the BOT will continue the ostrich approach until the situation becomes truly untenable.

      Then they’ll claim, “in the best interests for the long term financial health of TU, we had no choice.., etc., etc”

      NOBODY (pro, public or private univ) in America pays/will pay $25M to play football.

      Laurie is an a-hole, the maladroit BOT is inept, and the majority of the student body doesn’t care. Those three things will not change.

      Actions in 2013 were the prelude to the coming actions in 2020-2021. And, the uni will use the same arguments, and probably the same statements.

      https://news.temple.edu/news/2013-12-06/temple-reduces-its-varsity-sports-24-17

  7. Just to clarify something. If such a campaign were to be undertaken to save the FB program as I outlined above, it would have to be done by an independent group of friends of Temple FB. And it would be directed as much at TU Administration as Mr. Lurie and local politicians. Perhaps the indifference of the students, alumni and Joe Philadelphia is such that nothing will work to save the program. But something has to be done now and in a public forum before getting to a point of no return.

  8. Talk to the Phils about the Linc. Doesn’t seem feasible they’ll be playing October games for a few years.

    • That would work in college football’s old reality. The new reality is that flexibility is critical to television so control of a stadium on Saturday is mandatory. To have zero control of a home stadium for September at least is unacceptable.. This is the type of thing that can limit temple tv to exclusively road games at best or at worst force the aac to kick the owls out.

  9. Your distinction is most valid about early season availability.

    If the A’s can deal with the Raiders’ two exhibitions in August and a couple games in September without detriment to their field, earlier season games could be done at the Linc….say two max for September. Still grass-growing season so the field would not be ripped up. Pitcher’s mound may be the Phils’ concern.

    If Dave Montgomery was still around, possibility would be better. Have no feel for current ownership mindset on doing this.

    Scheduling itself could be tricky with the Phils being in and out in September with mostly division play. Would need a couple days after a football game to get field smooth again.

    But is there any alternative other than the Linc if Prince Jeff is allowed to continue being the troll not lowering the bridge?

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