Temple set to join Big East

3/7/2012 1:36:27 PM

A Wednesday afternoon press conference at Madison Square Garden, where the Big East is holding its men's basketball tournament, will be attended by officials from the conference as well as Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw and head football coach Steve Addazio.

The move would give the Big East 13 teams in football and 18 in basketball.

Temple needed to work out legal issues with the conferences it currently belongs to, including the Mid-American Conference for football. It plays basketball and all other sports in the Atlantic 10.

The MAC said Wednesday that it reached an agreement for Temple to leave the conference immediately after paying an exit fee of $6 million.

The MAC commissioner said in a statement that Temple requested to be released from its obligations as a football-only member without the required notice of two seasons.

"As a result the conference and its member institutions engaged in a dialogue with Temple regarding an appropriate resolution. We have come to an agreement that is fair to the parties involved," said Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher.

The Owls previously played football in the Big East, but were kicked out in 2004 for underperforming. They have improved in recent years. The Owls are currently the No. 1 seed in the Atlantic 10 men's basketball tournament and will open against Massachusetts on Friday. The women's team was seeded second in its tournament, but lost in the semifinals.

The Big East, of course, has been a big part of the ongoing game of musical chairs in college athletics.

Before Temple, Memphis was the previous school to join the Big East in all sports.

The conference had been reeling from the planned exits of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia. Its goal was to have 12 football members. Temple would be the 13th.

Prior to adding Memphis, the Big East had already brought on Central Florida, SMU and Houston as full members and Boise State, San Diego State and Navy for football only.

It hopes to create two divisions and stage an annual conference championship game.

Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced in September that they were leaving for the ACC and West Virginia is moving to the Big 12. TCU, which had agreed to leave the Mountain West for the Big East, decided instead to join the Big 12.