One of the topics often talked about among Temple fans in the parking lot last year was the stadium issue.
Make no mistake, a major college football team without a stadium is an issue in the nation’s fourth-largest market.
Then it was 12 months, then 11, then 10 and then nine until Temple needed a place to play and did not have one, at least officially.
We’re about at the eighth-month mark and there is still no signature on the dotted line.
Soon enough, we will be at one. You’ve got to think this is a pretty big story on the Philadelphia sports scene but you are much more likely to read speculative pieces in the offseason on who the Eagles’ right backup guard will be then how the negotiations with Temple and Jeffrey Lurie are going.
That’s where the Temple News comes into play. Somebody in the media now cares about an issue a lot of us care about and The Temple News, not the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News or Philadelphia Magazine, finally wrote something about it.
Basically, the bottom line is nothing has been done about a contract and there is no signature ceremony planned and we are running out of time. Urinals at Franklin Field could be the least of the Owls’ problems. The AAC might be forced to keep Temple off the home TV schedule due to Penn having control of Saturdays and that could affect Temple’s road game exposure as well.
Is this a concern?
It should be because the requests for season tickets have gone out and I’m not 100 percent sure I will be sitting in my comfortable Section 121 end-of-the-row seat or on a wooden bench getting splinters and ducking the pigeons at Franklin Field. Ninety percent, but not 100 percent.
I guess Temple and the Eagles will work out a deal because really there is no other option. The university completely botched the stadium. To me, it was a no-brainer to build where the library is now, knocking down Maxi’s, the Conwell Inn and that entire Liacouras Walk and putting the Library in that big empty spot at 15th and Norris. That way, no neighbors to deal with unless the protest is against a library. That would not go over well even in neighbor-friendly Philadelphia City Council. This is what happens when you hire people from Indiana to run a Philadelphia university. The damage has already been done.
That’s a Humpty Dumpty that cannot be put together again. (Of course, there is a fix but it will be a costly one: Knock down the trade union building and put it at 15th and Norris and squeeze the Olympic sports there and put the football stadium at Broad and Master. That’s probably never going to happen.)
The irony of all this is that the entire impetus for the on-campus stadium was that the Eagles were holding Temple hostage and the university wanted to get a cost-effective way to spend their stadium money. The boomerang effect of the mishandling of the on-campus stadium issue is that they gave the Eagles even more leverage.
So whatever advantage Temple might have had bringing this whole thing up turns out to be the Owls shooting themselves in the foot. The fact that they are waiting to pull the trigger won’t make the pain go away.
Monday: A Plea to Coach Carey