Since 2007, the Mid-American Conference had somehow avoided the musical chairs that is better known as conference realignment.
That all changed on Wednesday when Temple officially announced it was leaving the MAC to join the Big East Conference.
The Owls had been football members of the MAC since 2007, but will join the Big East as an all sports member. Temple’s football team joins this fall, while its Olympic sports won’t join the Big East until the 2013-14 school year.
“I don’t think it was any secret they wanted to be in the Big East,” MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher told CBSSports.com . “But it took a lot of interesting circumstances in the last 12-16 months to set in motion what happened.”
What happened – at least this is the cliff notes version – is the Big East lost West Virginia and TCU to the Big 12 for this fall and Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC in either 2013 or 2014. The Big East was left with only seven football members and had to add Temple to have an eight-team conference this fall.
Temple and the MAC reached a $6 million settlement – more than double the $2.5 million required for a team providing at least two year’s notice. Temple also will pay the Atlantic 10 $1 million for removing its Olympic sports before the 2013-14 season.
With the loss of Temple the MAC moved Bowling Green from the MAC West to the MAC East. The MAC will have 13 football members this fall.
The seven-team East will consist of Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Kent State, UMass (which makes the move up from the FCS ranks), Miami (Ohio) and Ohio. The six-team West will consist of Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan.
Despite the loss of Temple, Steinbrecher said the MAC is not looking to immediately add another team.
“We’ll take a deep breath and watch and see whatever occurs and evolves [on the conference landscape] and make our decisions based on what’s best for the Mid-American Conference,” Steinbrecher said. “Our core membership is very solid.”
MAC teams will play eight game conference schedules this fall. The schedule is expected to be released in the coming weeks, Steinbrecher said.