What you are about to read should come with a warning label about taking it with a grain of salt. This has been something Temple football fans have been hearing for more than two years now and that is a new on-campus football stadium is a “done deal.”
So far, nothing has been done and there has been no deal. That should change by next week according to rumors circulating at the school’s recent spring game. The school’s athletics committee will report to the Board of Trustees on Monday and reportedly on the agenda is talk of a stadium.
The two years of talk should come to an end there, and the university should decide once and for all to either build a stadium or extend its current rent agreement. Temple has basically two options: Build its own $300 million stadium or continue the current with the Philadelphia Eagles for sole control of the $521 million Lincoln Financial Field (pictured) on Saturdays. That deal, which started in 2004, is over at the end of the 2017 season.
If the Owls build now, they can have a stadium in place by the start of the 2018 season for head coach Matt Rhule‘s squad. If they build next year, they will have to find another home for a season or two if they do not extend the LFF lease, and both of those options could be problematic. The Owls have not had their own stadium since Temple Stadium was knocked down in 1974. They have played home games at Veterans Stadium, Franklin Field and even one in Washington, D.C. before signing the current deal with the Eagles.
The impetus for all of this was the Eagles proposing to triple the Owls’ rent from $1 million per season to $3 million per season. Still, to many, that’s a lot less expensive than building a $300 million stadium in the middle of a busy city. The Board of Trustees have watched fellow schools in the AAC, including Tulane and Houston, build on-campus stadiums recently and might feel a need to keep up with the conference’s Joneses.
The rumor circulating through the crowd at the school’s spring football game was that the stadium would be built on Geasey Field, at one time the largest AstroTurf field in the world and currently home to the school’s field hockey and lacrosse teams. Those teams are moving a couple of blocks south to the site of an old high school the university recently purchased. Additional space would be acquired by knocking down the Student Pavilion at Broad and Norris Streets.
The time for talk is now apparently coming to an end, and the fact that action seems imminent is reason enough for excitement.