After Kenney Opposition, Temple Board Defers Stadium Action

15 Now protesters - Temple - North Philly stadium

15 Now Protesters gather outside Temple’s Sullivan Hall Tuesday afternoon, before the Board of Trustees. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

Several dozen protesters jammed the walkway in front of Sullivan Hall Tuesday afternoon, decrying a plan to discuss a potential on-campus football stadium at Temple. A half-dozen police officers protected the entrance to the ornate building where the university’s Board of Trustees was meeting. Inside the Feinstone Lounge, protesters could be heard shouting from outside throughout the meeting.

For today, it was all just theater. No decisions were made. Patrick O’Connor, the president of the Board of Trustees, announced a planned action on the Temple football stadium — an expected approval — would be deferred until a later date. This came not long after Mayor-elect Jim Kenney announced he believed the Temple football team should remain at Lincoln Financial Field.

O’Connor said Temple would meet soon with the incoming mayor. “We’ve had extensive discussions as to the necessity of this stadium for our Division I program as well as the other uses,” he said. “We are going to engage all aspects of this community, including a meeting with the mayor-elect, to ensure that what we do for our students and our programs will be good for Temple and good for the great city of Philadelphia.”

An on-campus football stadium would be a block or two behind the Liacouras Center, most likely. Read more »

Football Coach Matt Rhule Signs 6-Year Deal to Stay at Temple

Matt Rhule, Temple head coach

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The coach who led Temple football to the best season in it history is staying put.

For a long time, actually: Today Temple announced Matt Rhule has signed a six-year deal that keeps him as the Owls’ coach until the 2021 season. The school said it will not disclose financial terms, but it’s presumably a nice raise for Rhule.

“While this has been such a special season, there is still so much more that Temple football can accomplish,” Rhule said in a release. “I am proud to coach such incredible student-athletes and I am honored to continue to be a part of the Temple community.” Read more »

Temple Will Play Toledo in Boca Raton Bowl

The Temple Owl mascot leads the team onto the field during an October 10, 2015, game against Tulane at Lincoln Financial Field.

Temple is headed to Florida for its bowl game.

The Owls, who had the most regular season wins in team history this year with a 10-3 mark, will play Toledo in the Boca Raton Bowl on December 22nd. The news was first reported by Jordan Strack of WTOL in Toledo.

The Owls end the regular season ranked No. 25 in the nation in the Associated Press top-25 media poll. They lost 24-13 to Houston in the American Athletic Conference title game on Saturday. Read more »

WATCH: College Protesters: “We Are #Mizzou”

A crowd of about 300 took to the middle of Broad Street Thursday evening to make a point about student debt and racial inequality.

As part of the Million Student March taking place nationwide, students from Temple, Penn, Community College of Philadelphia, and Drexel began at their own campuses and then converged at City Hall. Their demands are familiar: $15 an hour minimum wage, student debt forgiveness, and free education.

But much of the protest’s focus was on race, especially in light of the recent unrest at the University of Missouri and Yale University. Read more »

Temple Comes Up Just Short Against Notre Dame

Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver William Fuller (7) catches a pass for a touchdown over Temple Owls safety Will Hayes (32) in the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Notre Dame won 24-20.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver William Fuller (7) catches a pass for a touchdown over Temple Owls safety Will Hayes (32) in the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Notre Dame won 24-20.

A Philadelphia native spoiled Temple’s chance for the biggest win in school history.

Will Fuller, a Roman Catholic graduate, caught a 17-yard touchdown with two minutes to play to give Notre Dame the lead for good against Temple. P.J. Walker threw an interception on the next series, and the 9th-ranked Fighting Irish held on for the 24-20 win over the No. 21 Owls.

It was perhaps the biggest game in Temple football history, even though the Owls lost. There was a week of build-up, plus a rare Philadelphia appearance for ESPN College GameDay. (We did a roundup of the best and worst signs from this morning.)

A Temple-record crowd of 69,280 jammed Lincoln Financial Field. (The crowd was split perhaps 60-40 for Temple.) It looked like the Owls might actually win this one, too, when they scored twice in the fourth quarter to grab a three-point lead with under five minutes to play. Security even started bringing out barricades to prevent Temple fans from rushing the field.

But Notre Dame quashed the hopes of Temple fans with a 6-play, 75-yard drive that ended with the touchdown catch by Fuller. Temple falls to 7-1 on the season; the Fighting Irish are also 7-1. Read more »

Best and Worst of Philly College GameDay Signs

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College football took over Independence Mall today. Who knew this was possible?

ESPN’s College GameDay, the weekly pregame show, broadcast live from the middle of Market Street today in front of Independence Hall, a unique backdrop. Philly came out looking pretty good, at least because there were a lot of fans there.

And, there were signs. So many signs. This is College GameDay’s gimmick. I took photos of some of the worst (and best). Read more »

Will Philly-Area Schools Rescind Bill Cosby’s Honorary Degrees?

Last week, Lehigh University rescinded an honorary degree it had given to Bill Cosby in 1987. It decided to nix the honor because of the overwhelming number of women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault. (Cosby has never been  criminally charged — though he currently faces several civil lawsuits —and has denied the accusations.)

“Pursuant to a resolution of the Board of Trustees, Lehigh University has rescinded the honorary degree bestowed upon William H. Cosby, Jr. by the University in 1987,” the University said in a statement. “In sworn deposition testimony, Mr. Cosby admitted under oath to behavior that is antithetical to the values of Lehigh University and inconsistent with the character and high standards that honorary degree recipients are expected to exemplify.”

Lehigh is not the only local university to have awarded Cosby an honorary degree. Seven other schools in the Philadelphia area — Delaware State, Drexel, Haverford, Swarthmore, Temple, Penn and West Chester — have awarded Cosby honorary diplomas. Philadelphia magazine reached out to all seven schools to ask if they were considering stripping him of his honorary diplomas. Here’s what we found out. Read more »

Temple Football Now Just One Win From Bowl Eligibility

The Temple Owl mascot leads the team onto the field during an October 10, 2015, game against Tulane at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Temple Owl mascot leads the team onto the field during an October 10, 2015, game against Tulane at Lincoln Financial Field.

Despite their reputation for football futility, Temple has actually been bowl eligible for four out of the last six seasons. Perhaps because of that rep, they’ve only appeared in two bowl games. But this year, there’s absolutely no reason the Owls shouldn’t be in a bowl game. It’s not even halfway through the season and Temple is just one win away from becoming eligible for a bowl game.

The Owls are 5-0 for only the seventh time, and the first since 1974, after a 49-10 route of Tulane on Saturday. The win was Temple’s largest over a Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) opponent since a 42-0 win over Ball State in 2011. Temple is 5-0 and atop the “Also Receiving Votes” column in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. A route of 0-6 Central Florida next week at home could put the Owls into the Top 25 for the first time since it was ranked 17th at the end of the 1979 season. Read more »

Police: Suspect in Sexual Assault of Temple Student in Custody

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Philadelphia Police today announced the suspect in the sexual assault and robbery of a Temple student has been apprehended. He was taken into custody sometime late last night or early morning by federal agents, a police spokeswoman said. The suspect’s name has not yet been released, nor were other details of the arrest available.

Police had released surveillance footage of the suspect on Friday of last week. Read more »

Temple Football Is 4-0 — What’s Next?

Temple Owls wide receiver Robby Anderson (19) celebrates his touchdown during the second half against the Charlotte 49ers at Jerry Richardson Stadium on October 2, 2015 in; Charlotte, NC.

Temple Owls wide receiver Robby Anderson (19) celebrates his touchdown during the second half against the Charlotte 49ers at Jerry Richardson Stadium on October 2, 2015 in; Charlotte, NC.

One memory comes to mind when I think of Temple football. We were driving on I-76 to a cross country meet — it had to be sometime in the early 1990s. KYW 1060’s sports report was on. The anchor got to the Temple game, and played a soundbite from the upcoming opponent’s coach. He went through the usual sports platitudes an opposing college coach says about an opponent. Something like: “They have a lot of good players, they’re really well coached, they have a great team this year and it’s going to be a tough game.”

The station returned to the sports anchor. He paused. “What team is he talking about?”

I don’t remember who Temple played that week, or if they lost. But my guess is, “Probably.” Temple was not good at football in the early 1990s. The Owls were so bad the KYW anchor mocked them. Temple, indeed, has not been very good at football in its history. The Owls were 2-9 in 1991, then 1-10 in four out of the next five seasons. (They went 2-9 in 1994.)

To be fair, the team had some good seasons in the late 1970s, going to three straight bowl games (and beating Cal in the Garden State Bowl in 1979). The school’s only other real sustained period of success was the 1930s, when Pop Warner actually coached the team. Other than that, the Owls do not have a great football history. Even recently, the team has made strides — but it’s seemed short lived. In 2009, Al Golden took the Owls to their first bowl since 1979, but the team still lost to Villanova that year. He left after one more season. Temple actually won a bowl game in 2011 — beating Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl — but coach Steve Adazzio left, again, after just one more season. The Owls then went 2-10 the next year. Read more »

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