February 22, 2012 at 9:56 PM EST - Updated June 26 at 3:34 PM
DALLAS (CBS Sports) – Temple is close to joining the Big East as an all-sports member in 2012, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com Wednesday morning.
The addition of Temple is imperative for the Big East, which desperately needs a school to replace West Virginia this fall after the Mountaineers reached a $20 million agreement with the league to leave for the Big 12.
One source told CBSSports.com that Temple to the Big East in 2012 "is done."
An announcement could be made as early as next week, sources told CBSSports.com.
MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher, attending the BCS meetings at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport Grand Hyatt Hotel, told CBSSports.com that discussions are ongoing between Temple and the Big East.
"I don't know where those will lead," Steinbrecher said.
Big East commissioner John Marinatto, also at the BCS meetings, declined comment Wednesday.
The Big East initially wanted Boise State, which will join in 2013, to join this fall as West Virginia’s replacement. However, the Big East was not willing to provide the Broncos with about $10 million they needed to leave the Mountain West in football and have their Olympic sports join the WAC a year early.
With Boise State out of the picture, the Big East then turned its attention to Temple. The Mid-American Conference's exit fee is $2.5 million with two years notice, but it's unknown what the amount would be for a school providing less than a year's notice, a source said. To leave the Atlantic 10 Conference, where the Owls’ Olympic sports compete, would cost Temple $2 million with less than a year's notice, a source said.
Temple was one of the Big East’s original eight football members in 1991, but was expelled from the league after the 2004 season for not being competitive and not meeting certain financial requirements. However, the Owls’ program has been resurrected under the direction of Al Golden and Steve Addazio, posting a 26-12 record the last three seasons.
Golden, who left for Miami after the 2010 season, guided the Owls to their first bowl in 30 years. Addazio completed his first year with a 37-15 victory against Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl in December, only the second bowl victory in school history.
The addition of Temple will be the latest change for the Big East, which also added Memphis two weeks ago.
With Temple being added, the Big East’s membership is expected to have eight football members and 16 basketball members in 2012. In 2013, the football membership will grow to 14 with the addition of Boise State, SMU, UCF, Houston, Memphis and San Diego State. However, if Pittsburgh and Syracuse are allowed to leave a year early to the ACC, the league would have 12 football members.
In 2014, the football membership will be 12 (after Pittsburgh and Syracuse leave) but it will grow to 13 in 2015 with the addition of Navy.
Sources told CBSSports.com, the reason the Big East decided to go beyond 12 football members is because the league is preparing for the possibility it will lose Louisville if the Big 12 decides to expand by at least another team.
Multiple sources have told CBSSports.com that Louisville is the consensus choice for the Big 12’s 11th member, if the league expands, and that the Cardinals would accept an invitation to the Big 12.
Big 12 acting commissioner Chuck Neinas said Wednesday his league has no expansion meetings scheduled and is concentrating on the additions of West Virginia and TCU.
Two weeks ago when the Big East added Memphis, Marinatto said the league had reached its “primary objective” of securing a 12-team football league when Navy joins in 2015. However he opened the door to further expansion.
“We’re always going to be vigilant and we’re going to continue to do whatever is in the best interest of the conference,” Marinatto said. “You never say never (about future expansion), I guess. But we’ve reached our goal and we’re pleased that we’ve done that. But we’re always going to be obviously continuing to evaluate different opportunities as time goes on."