A $1 million annual increase in rent, as well as a $12 up front payment for continued use of Lincoln Financial Field has once again brought up questions of a possible on campus stadium at Temple University.
Since 2003, Temple football has played its home games at the Linc, and they are under contract to do so until the end of the 2017 season. President Theobald said, however, that as Temple looks to renegotiate the contract, the University may also be considering different options.
He told the Philadelphia Inquirer “If you landlord wants to substantially increase your rent, you check your options.”
As of now, the University pays $1 million for 6 homes games at the Linc each year. Theobald says the Eagles have asked that number be bumped to $2 million annually.
The Eagles, however, say that they have spoken to Temple about contract renewal in over year. Eagles President Don Smolenski released a statement saying they “have not had any negotiations or discussions with Temple about continuing their license for the use of Lincoln Financial Field in over a year.”
Smolenski continued to say “the statements made by President Theobald do not accurately reflect our conversations with Temple representatives, which began in 2010…In our last meeting, Dr. Theobald asked us to give them time. We have not heard from them since. We do not consider statements in the press to be negotiations with us and we are mystified as to why Temple hasn’t communicated with us on this subject in over a year.”
The University declined Temple Update’s request for further comment, but this is not the first time there have been rumors of a new stadium.
Temple Update reported in the fall of the University’s interest in purchasing William Penn High School, an 11.5 acre property located on Broad and Master, just blocks south of campus. The school, which was shut down in 2010, is priced at $32.5 million.
Update spoke to Temple spokesman Ray Betzner in November following the announcement of Temple’s interest in the property. “With the 20/20 plan ending, the time seemed right for us to ask questions about wether there might be opportunities beyond our current footprint, and that’s part of what we’re looking at right now.” said Betzner.
Administration listed budget issues as a reason for cutting five varsity sports, effective July 1st, 2014. Considering this pending decision, some students are questioning the University’s timing of a possible new stadium.
“I just don’t want to see a ton of money put into a stadium for a football team that might fail,” said Temple freshman Kevin Gebert.
Some student athletes, who still feel the sting of the recent budget cuts, took their opposition a step further.
“I don’t think it should come as an expense to other athletes that your facilities get an upgrade. I feel like the money should be found somewhere else other than cutting other teams and ruining other athlete’s dreams,” said Temple rower Layla Moran.
While some students opposed the idea of a new stadium, however, others thought it would be a good idea for the University in the future.
“I think it would be more convenient for students. I also think in the long run it might contribute to the school’s revenue,” said Temple freshman Mary Kate Smyser.