Why Does Neil Theobald Think Football Will Save Temple?

Photography by Clint Blowers

Photography by Clint Blowers

It was a date that would live in infamy.

The news hit the scholar-athletes gathered in Temple University’s Student Pavilion on December 6th of last year like a brick to the gut: The sports teams they’d been recruited for, trained for, worked for, played for, were being eliminated — “Chop, boom, you’re gone,” read the headline in the Temple News. Seven teams went poof: men’s crew, women’s rowing, softball, baseball, men’s gymnastics, and men’s indoor and outdoor track and field. Dozens of young hearts — along with those of their coaches — were broken as the university’s new athletic director, Kevin Clark, wielded the ax in a brief, succinct speech. And everybody knew where to lay the blame. “Make no mistake: Football drove cuts” was the headline on a student-newspaper editorial. The Inquirer’s Bob Ford chimed in: “No kidding they had to cut sports to save money. They just didn’t cut the one they should have.”
Read more »

At Temple, Collateral Damage in the Fight Against College Sexual Violence

Praise Martin-Oguike

Praise Martin-Oguike

Last week, President Obama made a big splashy show of announcing the formation of a task force to fight the “epidemic” of sexual violence on college campuses. He dragged out all the leaky old statistics that activists have been tossing around for years even though they fly in the face of common sense. (Would any father let his daughter attend a school where one in five female students actually got raped?)

There’s no doubt this is a touchy topic. There’s no doubt too many women have their lives ruined by sexual assault. But in the rush to protect them from the stampede of frothing male attackers, there’s collateral damage. The tale of Praise Martin-Oguike at Temple is proof of that.

Read more »

Temple Sports Cuts Sure Seem to Be About Football


Let’s start with Temple’s premise that the cutting of seven sports from the athletic department roster had nothing to do with football. That’s what the folks on North Broad Street are saying, and there might be some truth to that. The Owls’ program is not an example of opulence gone wild, even though it is most certainly not a profitable enterprise. There are some other issues at work, too, most notably Title IX considerations.

The argument breaks down — falls apart completely, actually — when one considers the company Temple is keeping. That’s where the influence of football and its damaging effects come into play. Because the Owls fought so hard to join the pre-implosion Big East, and because the old Big East’s current football iteration only exists in a version that appears more like a Conference USA spinoff than a major confederation, the Owls doomed their other sports (even, to an extent, the men’s basketball program) to membership in a league that doesn’t suit and actually hurts them.

Read more »

THE PLAYER: The NFL’s (Almost) First Out Player

dorien bryant purdue football

Dorien at the Undine Barge Club, Boathouse Row. Photo by Chris Crisman.

It’s two months before Gaybowl XIII, when the seven-on-seven National Gay Flag Football League champion will be crowned in Phoenix, and the Philadelphia Revolution is bereft of its star. In the middle of an overgrown Little League field in East Passyunk, where a mucky dune marks the 50-yard line, a bespectacled, double-knee-brace-wearing team captain drills the squad on route-running. Then, 30 minutes into the two-hour practice, he arrives: arms muscled, pecs protruding from a pink-sleeved t-shirt. He moseys toward the bleachers wearing a camo-green hat and Versace Eros cologne. He has just left Voyeur three hours ago. “I know nothing right now,” he mumbles, pulling on his cleats, grabbing his receiver’s gloves, and jumping in line for some 10-yard hitch routes.

Read more »

Penn State Should Pay Bill O’Brien Before Somebody Else Does

Penn State's Beaver Stadium

(FULL DISCLOSURE: The author is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan, and he wasn’t very happy Saturday night.)

Let’s face it; any time a team loses to Indiana by 20, it’s not a good thing. But a Vegas sharpie knew something in advance of Penn State’s remarkable, four-OT marathon victory over Michigan Saturday in Delirious Valley. The betting line opened at Michigan minus one, an extremely small number for an unbeaten team–albeit a squad that almost lost to Akron–against a rival that had dropped two of three, including the aforementioned double-sawbuck debacle against the Hoosiers.

But when the “White Out” had lifted, and the Wolverines’ kicker had stopped missing field goals, PSU had earned the kind of victory that can catapult a maturing program into the national discussion. Or, in Penn State’s case, into the national discussion again.

Read more »

Temple’s Winningest Coach, Wayne Hardin, Elected To College Football Hall of Fame

The Philly Daily News reports that Wayne Hardin, who compiled a 80-52-3 while coaching the Temple Owls during the 1960s and early 1970s, has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

ESPN adds: “Temple won a school-record 14 straight games from 1973-74 under Hardin, who won the 1974 Kodak District II coach of the year and was inducted into Temple’s Hall of Fame 20 years later. ”

“This is a great day for Temple University,” interim athletic director Kevin Clark said in a statement. “Wayne Hardin is not only a Hall of Fame football coach, but a Hall of Fame person. The entire Temple community is grateful that he has been selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.”

Hardin is 86. He’ll be formally inducted Dec. 10.


Hoaxmaster Tuiasosopo Had “Romantic Feelings” for Manti Te’o

In an interview with, who else, Dr. Phil, the Manti Te’o Hoax mastermind Ronaiah Tuiasosopo revealed that he was in love with Te’o throughout the time he was faking the voice of Te’o’s fake girlfriend Lennay Kekua. In other words, he  was living vicariously through the fake girlfriend he created, in order to feel closer to the Notre Dame star. Dr. Phil previewed his interview with Tuiasosopo, which airs Thursday, to NBC’s Mike Taibbi.

Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love. I asked him straight up, “Was this a romantic relationship with you?” And he says yes. I said, “Are you therefore gay?” And he said, “Well, hen you put it that way, yes.” And then he caught himself and said, “I am confused.”

Tuiasosopo also claimed full responsibility, denying Te’o was in on the hoax.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Manti Te’o Gets Autotuned

This seems like a good place to let the story of Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o’s fake dead girlfriend … well, come to a merciful end:

ESPN Had Te’o Hoax Story Before Deadspin, But Let it Slip Away

New media>Old media. ESPN got a tip from Manti Teo’s agent about the hoax a day before Deadspin.com did, but ultimately were left wringing their hands and worrying about what to do while Deadspin got the scoop. (His agent? Does he really think this will somehow boost Te’s chances in the draft?) According to an account in the New York Times, ESPN wanted to get an interview with Te’o to get his reaction before publishing, which caused the delay. In other words, ESPN did the old school thing, waiting to be sure, and Deadspin did the new school thing and just went ahead with it. For what it’s worth, I got my information from the New York Times, but Sports Illustrated beat them to the bunch on this very same story. [New York Times]

I Am Manti Te’o’s Mother

I am sharing this story because I am Manti Te’o’s mother. Ever since the hooligans from something called Deadspin told the world that Manti’s dead girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, never existed, everybody’s been talking about my son. They wonder if he’s a fraud. They say he’s a liar. They say it’s his fault Notre Dame laid an egg at the BCS Championship Game. But I understand my son better than anyone else, so I am speaking out here.

First of all, you should know that Lennay isn’t Manti’s first imaginary friend. Manti has always had imaginary friends, from the time he was a very little boy. His first imaginary friend was a rabbit named Heisman. Heisman lasted for a few years. Then he was replaced by an old man and a young man. Their names were Gipper and Rudy. The old one creeped me out a little when Manti talked to him, but I liked Rudy. He seemed to have a lot of moxie. At least for an imaginary friend. In the fourth grade, Manti had his first imaginary girlfriend. Her name was Britney. He liked her so much that sometimes he’d ask me to set a place for her at supper. He’d say, “Would you like some macaroni salad, Britney?” Sometimes he’d put some on her plate and then sneak bites when he thought I didn’t see.

What a lot of people don’t seem to understand is that Manti is a Mormon, and Mormons are very familiar with the concept of imaginary friends. The founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, had many, many such friends, including an angel named Moroni. He had to have been imaginary, because who would name an angel Moroni? (Smith also named a city “Nauvoo.” He was terrible with names.) Also, John the Baptist visited Smith. Not to mention God.

But let’s get back to Lennay. I thought she was a very nice girl. She understood about boundaries. My Manti has been very busy this year. Notre Dame is not like other schools, you know. Notre Dame happens to have the highest graduation rate for football players of any FBS college. It’s not like Oklahoma or USC. Manti has to go to his classes. And you know how real girlfriends are, with the insecurity and all the drama. Like, “Oh Manti, you think that Kim Kardashian is hotter than I am, don’t you? It’s all right; I don’t mind. You can admit it.” Something like that can waste a whole afternoon once a girl gets going. And besides his classes, Manti has to get to the gym.

Also? And since I am Manti’s mom, I’m female, so I’m allowed to say this. Some real girlfriends are real trouble. If you try to break up with them, they’ll say you raped them. It happens. An imaginary girlfriend will never do that. Well, I guess she could. But why on earth would she? You’re the one imagining her. Not to mention the ones who “forget” to take the Pill and get pregnant. And think of all the money Manti saved with not buying Lennay jewelry and flashy clothes and vodka that costs $100 a bottle! Not that he drinks, because he’s Mormon. I’m not sure she was. I would hope he would have a Mormon imaginary girlfriend. But she’s his imaginary girlfriend, not mine.

There are probably people out there who think it’s time for Manti to put away childish things like imaginary friends and get a real girlfriend. But what if he did, and that real girlfriend got in a bad car accident and then died of leukemia? He would have to go to that girlfriend’s funeral, even if she had told him not to, told him to keep on playing football. He would have to go even though one of his earlier imaginary friends was named the Gipper. Wouldn’t he? Yes he would. I’m proud of Manti and all he’s done, and I’m grateful to Lennay for being imaginary so she didn’t take up too much of his time and energy, so he could become the most decorated defensive player in college football history and wind up on the cover of Sports Illustrated. You losers at Deadspin are just jealous, because Manti is so talented and you are all a bunch of wannabes, as we say in the islands. As for the rest of you, I think you should all just mind your own business until after the NFL draft.



« Older Posts