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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wyatt shines in upset of No. 3/5 Duke


For the fourth year in a row, Temple fans stormed the court in celebration of their team’s upset against a Top-10 program.

Following defeats of No. 8/8 Tennessee in 2008, No. 3/3 Villanova in 2009 and No. 9/10 Georgetown last year, the Owls stunned the No. 3/5 Duke Blue Devils at the Wells Fargo Center Wednesday night with a 78-73 victory.

“I’m not sure it’s really hit me yet,” redshirt-senior guard Ramone Moore said. “It was a great win and some guys really stepped up to help us get over the hump. It just feels great.”

Owls’ junior guard Khalif Wyatt led all scorers with 22 points and added five steals. At one point around the four-minute mark, Wyatt hit back to back threes that extended the Owls’ lead from three to nine, creating a cushion that Duke wouldn’t be able to overcome.

“Tonight just happened,” Wyatt said. “I was making shots. My teammates trusted me. I just kept coming through for them.”

Wyatt’s performance was typical of a Temple player in these kinds of games during the past four years.
In the 2008 win against Tennessee, Owls’ guard Dionte Christmas hit seven threes and scored 35 points. Now a senior, guard Juan Fernandez put up a similar performance against Villanova in his sophomore season. He hit seven threes of his own and scored 33 points. Last season versus Georgetown, Moore took over in the second half and scored a then career high 30 points in the Owls’ upset.

As Wyatt scored eight points in the final five minutes of this game against Duke, he joined the company of some of Temple’s finest players of the past five years.

“My teammates trusted me,” Wyatt said. “I wanted to come through for them…and I did.”

Though Fernandez and Moore have proven themselves reliable in Temple’s previous upsets of Top-10 programs, the team feels comfortable with the ball in the hands of any of their three starting guards in crucial situations.

“[Wyatt] has huge courage,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “He just has no fear. I think that’s what you need in a game like this.”

“Whoever has it going, we put the ball it that person’s hands,” Moore added.

Playing on a national stage in a game broadcast on ESPN 2, the Owls outshot and outrebounded the Blue Devils, who came into the game scoring the sixth-most points per game in the country and averaging a shooting percentage of better than 50 percent.

Dunphy said the perimeter defense of Temple’s trio of guards was just as important as their prowess on offense.

“We wanted to take away the three and try to run them off the three-point line a little bit,” Dunphy said. “When you can win a game like this, everybody has to play well and you have to get a little lucky, and I think we did that.”

“I think there was only one way we could win, and that is to manage the game and have those three guys [in control],” Dunphy added. “They’re pretty good basketball players and they’re going to be able to make good decisions with the ball.”

Temple did all of this without two of their regular starters. Graduate center Micheal Eric is out indefinitely with an injured right kneecap, and senior forward Scootie Randall may miss the entire season while recovering from offseason knee surgery.

But just as Temple fans celebrated after the game on the home court of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, Temple can celebrate the fact that the injury-plagued Owls upset one of the most lauded programs in college basketball due to their depth at guard and an outstanding late-game performance by an unlikely star.

“[Duke] is an incredible basketball program and for us to come out on top tonight is very, very nice for a lot of people,” Dunphy said. “We’re thrilled to be standing here as winners tonight.”

Owls play host to No. 3/5 Duke

Temple (9-3) will play in arguably its most anticipated regular season game of the season tonight as the Owls host Duke (12-1) at  7 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia.

The game, which will broadcast nationally on ESPN 2, is a part two of the schools’ home and home agreement. The Owls lost to the Blue Devils, 78-61, last year at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Blue Devils’ then senior Kyle Singler led all scorers with 28 points, while then senior forward Lavoy Allen led the Owls with a double double.

Both Singler and Allen have now moved on, making it so that this year’s matchup promises to feature some new faces.

For Duke, the USA Today third-ranked and Associated Press fifth-ranked Blue Devils are led in scoring by freshman guard Austin Rivers, who averages more than 15 points per game. Duke also features a plethora of lengthy forwards, including a pair of 6’10 brothers named Plumlee, junior Mason and senior Miles.

Temple counters with its trio of high-scoring guards and undersized forwards. The Owls senior guards Juan Fernandez (13.3 ppg) and Ramone Moore (17.4 ppg), and junior guard Khalif Wyatt (14.2 ppg) all average more than 10 points per game, but injuries have cost the Owls in the frontcourt.

Graduate center Micheal Eric and senior forward Scootie Randall have both missed significant time due to injury this season and will not play tonight. Randall is expected to redshirt this season as he has struggled to recover from offseason surgery in June to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his knee. Eric has missed Temple’s last eight games after re-injuring the same kneecap that kept him out of his last 10 games last year.

Both Eric and Randall were also injured for Temple’s game last year against Duke.

In Eric and Randall’s absence, the Owls are left with two inexperienced forwards in the frontcourt. Redshirt-freshman Anthony Lee will start in only the 13th game of his career alongside junior forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, who is a natural three-guard forced to play power forward.

The 6’9 Lee and 6’6 Hollis-Jefferson will have their hands full trying to defend the bigger Plumlee brothers, along with Blue Devils junior forward Ryan Kelly, who is six foot, eleven inches and weighs 230 pounds.

The Blue Devils high-scoring offense is built around the three-point shot. Duke has the sixth-best three point percentage in the country and has hit 90 threes in 13 games so far this season. Temple counters with the 4th-best defense in the country defending the three, holding opponents to a three-point percentage of just 25.6 percent.

Instead of trying to win the game in the paint, the Owls will try to rely on their talented trio of guards and their excellent perimeter defense.

This is a formula that has proven to give Duke some trouble this season. In the Blue Devils’ season opener against Belmont, the Bruins’ trio of experienced guards all shot better than 50 percent and scored more than 10 points as Belmont took Duke to the buzzer in a 77-76 loss.

If Temple can shoot the ball better than their 37.8 average in their past two games and defend the three as well as they have all season, then its experienced club could pull off the upset against the young Duke squad that features only one senior.

Temple is no stranger to upsetting elite programs of late, either. In the past three seasons, the Owls have defeated a program ranked in the Top-10 in the country.

Tonight, in front of a national audience and a home crowd, the Owls will try to make it four in a row.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wyatt three lifts Owls over Delaware

To conclude a back and forth contest, Owls’ junior guard Khalif Wyatt hit a game-winning three pointer with 35 seconds left to lead Temple to a 66-63 victory against Delaware.

Wyatt had been 1-10 shooting before making the game-deciding shot, apart of a lackluster offensive performance from the Owls that saw the team shoot 39.1% from the field.

Owls’ junior forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson led the team with 13 points and eight rebounds.

This was the second game in a row for Temple that came down to the wire after the Owls’ 87-85 defeat of Buffalo on Wednesday.

Check back to The Temple News later tonight for full game coverage.

Bull fighting

This game was ugly.

It started with alternate 10-0 runs as both teams took advantage of the fact that their opponent didn’t want to play defense early on.

It ended with a put back by Owls’ redshirt-freshman forward Anthony Lee that had no business even being possible after the ball touched two Buffalo defenders first.

In truth, Temple (8-3)  really shouldn’t have won this game.

The Owls committed 11 turnovers and shot a mere 36.4 percent from the floor. Lee got bullied around in the frontcourt for the entire 25 minutes he played and the Bulls (6-4) scored 50 points in the paint.

But in a contest that was dominated by broken plays and offensive rebounds, and featured too many inexplicable plays to count, the Owls fought, scratched and clawed their way to a 87-85 overtime victory against Buffalo.

“If you’re telling me we won this game in a hard-fought fashion and found a way to do it, I’d be pleased,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “I’m hoping that’s going to become a signature for this team, that they find a way.”

Buffalo held a six-point lead with a little more than a minute remaining in the game, but were unable to hit their free throws to secure the win.

Senior guards Juan Fernandez and Ramone Moore both hit three-pointers in the final minute that allowed Temple to tie the game and send it into overtime.

“It’s kids making big shots,” Dunphy said. “We made some big shots. That’s what it takes, guys having confidence in themselves who can step up and make big shots.”

The Owls did a better job on the offensive boards than the Bulls, grabbing 19 offensive rebounds that led to 19 second-chance points.

Moore and Fernandez said that taking opportunities that Buffalo handed to them was a key to the Owls’ victory.

“Not every game is going to have things go your way,” Moore said. “It’s very important to make those plays.”

“It matters how you play, but as long as you find a way to win the game, at the end, all you see is the scoreboard,” Fernandez added.

The Owls especially had trouble in the paint, as Lee had his hands full with Bulls’ forwards, sophomore Javon McCrea and senior Mitchell Watt. McCrea finished with 28 points and seven rebounds, while Watt scored 22 points and grabbed nine boards.

“[Lee] is a redshirt freshman who is tremendously undersized in width and girth,” Dunphy said. “He tried, but has a whole lot of work to do.”

“This was the worst defensive performance of my college basketball career so far,” Lee added.

Both Lee and Owls’ junior forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson were in foul trouble in the second half, forcing Temple, still in the absence of senior forwards Micheal Eric and Scootie Randall, to play shorthanded and undersized.

“We were shorthanded and playing with four guards most of the time, and they took advantage of that,” Fernandez said.

But somehow, despite the missing starters and its poor shooting performance, Temple found a way to win.

“I was pleased with some of the things we did, but other things we struggled with,” Dunphy said. “I think we’re going to have a lot of these down to the wire games, but we’re just going to have to figure out a way to survive.”

Temple special teams coordinator leaves for Ohio State

Zach Smith, who served as special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach for Temple this season, has accepted the job of wide receivers coach at Ohio State, it was announced Thursday.

“I am very happy and supportive of Zach Smith’s new opportunity at Ohio State,” Temple coach Steve Addazio said in a press release. “He grew up in Columbus, and as the grandson of former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce, he is a lifelong Buckeye fan. I thank Zach for his contributions to Temple Football this year and wish Zach and his family all the best.”

Smith will be reunited with Buckeyes’ head coach Urban Meyer, who Smith worked under at Florida as an offensive and special teams assistant and recruiting evaluator from 2005-09. Smith served as the special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach at Marshall University in 2010 before joining Temple this year.

“Zach has done a terrific job as wide receivers coach at both Marshall and this past year at Temple,” Meyer said in a press release. “I am really looking forward to having the opportunity to work with him again. Ohio State is going to benefit from his coaching and his abilities as a recruiter.”

Smith is the first member of Meyer’s former coaching staff to leave Temple and join him at Ohio State amid speculation that Meyer is trying to get his old group back together.

Addazio, offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, offensive line coach Justin Frye, defensive coordinator Chuck Heater, defensive line coach Sean Cronin, graduate assistant Mark DeLeone and head strength and conditioning coach Frank Piraino all worked with Meyer at Florida.

Former Temple News EIC linked to child molestation

Former Temple News Editor-in-Chief and Temple alumnus Bill Conlin has been accused of sexually molesting four children between the ages of 7-12 in the 1970′s.

In a Philadelphia Inquirer article published Tuesday, Conlin is described as molesting three young girls and a young boy, all family members and friends of Conlin’s children.

Conlin, 77, resigned from his positon as columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News amid the allegations on Tuesday. Conlin had worked at the Daily News for more than 40 years and was the 2011 recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, the highest award given by the Baseball Writers Association of America, presented at the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Conlin is a 1961 graduate of Temple and an award-winning former EIC of The Temple News. He was recently selected for the Lew Klein Alumni in the Media Award and the School of Communications and Theater Hall of Fame.

Conlin declined to comment on the accusations through his lawyer on Tuesday.

Owls win first bowl game since 1979

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Two years ago in the EagleBank Bowl, Temple let up a last-second field goal in the first half to UCLA, allowing the Bruins to gain momentum before halftime and score 23 unanswered points en route to a 30-21 comeback win.

On Saturday afternoon in Temple’s first bowl appearance since 2009, the Owls made sure that this time, the result would be different.

After conceding a Wyoming touchdown late in the second quarter, Owls’ redshirt-sophomore quarterback Chris Coyer hit senior wide receiver Rod Streater for a 61-yard touchdown in the closing seconds of the first half.

The play swung the momentum in Temple’s favor and the Owls didn’t look back as they defeated Wyoming 37-15 in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.


“We had a great year and that’s terrific, but this allowed us to put that exclamation on it,” coach Steve Addazio said. “We’re excited to go back to Philadelphia representing our university and our great sports city with this win.”

Addazio said that Streater’s play was the turning point in the game.

“We took a shot, and it ended up being a very, very important touchdown for us,” Addazio said. “In terms of momentum psychologically, we answered a score with a score going into the half, so it was a big play.”

It was Temple’s first bowl win since 1979 and only the second such victory in program history. Temple’s senior class finishes as the winningest class in school history (31) and one of only two classes to ever capture a bowl game victory.

“I’m awful proud of our seniors, some great accomplishments for them,” Addazio said. “[The win] means an awful lot to our program and our university.”

“It sets the foundation for the younger guys,” senior linebacker Tahir Whitehead added. “We want them to keep winning over the next couple of years.”

Whitehead was named the Defensive MVP of the Game after making a team high of 11 tackles. Coyer was named Offensive MVP of the Game, posting 79 rushing yards and 169 passing yards and a touchdown.

Coyer was making his fourth start of the year after recovering from a sprained AC joint in his non-throwing shoulder suffered in the Owls’ last regular season game.

“It’s definitely been an interesting ride throughout the year,” Coyer said. “Thankfully these past three or four games I got a chance and capitalized on it.”

Temple scored on its first three possessions of the game.

After a botched kickoff opened the game, the Owls moved 90 yards downfield and scored on their opening drive. Following a fourth-down conversion, a 40-yard pass from Coyer to senior tight end Evan Rodriguez put Temple into scoring position. Junior running back Bernard Pierce scored his first of two touchdowns, a one-yard run, to give the Owls an early lead.

“The first drive set the tone,” Addazio said. “You could see that our team was mentally and physically ready to play this football game.”

Pierce scored again, another one-yard plunge, to conclude a 69-yard drive on the Owls’ second possession that got started after a Wyoming missed field goal. He finished the game with 100 yards and two touchdowns.

Pierce didn’t speak to the media after the game, which some speculate could be his last at Temple. Pierce is rumored to have filed for early paperwork to enter the NFL draft.

Cowboys’ freshman quarterback Brett Smith had struggles passing early in the game. He completed nine of 14 passes for 78 yards in the first half and threw two interceptions.

Owls’ senior defensive back Kee-ayre Griffin intercepted Smith early in the second quarter and set up Temple’s third consecutive touchdown, a one-yard run again, this time by junior running back Matt Brown, which gave the Owls a three-score lead.

“It was important to send Wyoming a message that we came here to play football,” Griffin said. “Wyoming can score at any moment. It was good for the offense to come out and get a couple of scores and give the defense a chance to rest.”

Smith responded late in the second quarter with an 11-play, 62-yard drive, capped off by a 21-yard touchdown pass to Cowboys’ freshman wide receiver Josh Doctson with 37 seconds remaining the first half.

It was a play that appeared to be Wyoming’s way back into the game, until the efforts of Coyer and Streater yanked the rug out from under the Cowboys’ feet.

Set up by a 29-yard kick return by senior wide receiver Joe Jones, Streater’s touchdown re-established Temple’s 21-point lead going into halftime, and more importantly, gave the Owls all of the game’s momentum.

“It gave us a backbone to come back strong,” Streater said. “The game’s never over. They have an explosive offense and can come back just like that. It was important for us to get those seven points.”

Temple held Wyoming scoreless in the second half up until the game’s closing seconds when the Cowboys scored a meaningless touchdown and two-point conversion. The Temple defense kept the highly touted Smith in check throughout the game, holding him to 203 yards of total offense and forcing three interceptions.

“The goal going into this game was to keep [Smith] rattled and throw the cage around him because he’s a very good and explosive quarterback,” Whitehead said. “We just wanted to make him one-dimensional and pass the ball, and that’s what we did.”

Owls’ junior placekicker Brandon McManus made three second-half field goals and Temple won the New Mexico Bowl trophy by a final score of 37-15.

For Addazio, he becomes the first coach in Temple history to win a bowl game in his first season in addition to setting the school record for most wins by a first-year head coach (9).

For Temple, the win solidifies this year as one of the most successful seasons in school history.

“Temple is here to stay,” Addazio said. “This is a program that is on the rise as we’ll continue to battle and compete and represent our university in a first-class manner.”

Owls shut out in bowl events

ALBUQUERQUE, NM-Temple was defeated by Wyoming in “Survey Says” and bowling on Thursday night as a part of Gildan New Mexico Bowl-sponsored events hosted by ESPN at the Santa Ana Star Casino in Albuquerque, NM.

“Survey Says” (Family Feud) featured a combination of offensive, defensive and coaching matchups from the Owls and the Cowboys. Temple assistant coaches were defeated by Wyoming’s offensive squad in the final round. During the course of its five-year existence, whichever team wins “Survey Says” has gone on to win the New Mexico Bowl.

Temple was also defeated in the bowling competition that followed. The Owls and Cowboys competed in a showdown of the five best players from each team at the Santa Ana Star Bowling Alley. Wyoming’s team of five beat out Temple’s, 172-147.

Stay tuned to TTN for ongoing coverage of the New Mexico Bowl.

Owls favor early bowl matchup

The football team will travel to Albuquerque, N.M on Wednesday morning to begin preparation for their game against Wyoming in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday’s contest, set for noon Mountain Time (2 p.m. EST), is the first game of the 2011-12 college football bowl season.

“I really like being first,” coach Steve Addazio said at a press conference on Monday. “Everyone will watch this game. In the middle of [the bowl season], it’s one bowl game after another and you lose sight of what game is when until the BCS games are played. I think this gives us an opportunity for a great audience.”

Addazio said he couldn’t be more pleased with the timing of the bowl. As opposed to playing in a bowl in late December, the early game has allowed the Owls to stay relatively on schedule.

“It’s really just a bye week,” Addazio said. “We tried to do the best we could to give the kids some time off, yet still get a number of practices to prepare our team for this football game.”

Addazio added that playing in an early bowl allows the student athletes to be able to finish their season before having to go home for winter break.

“It gives our players a chance to go compete at a high level and come home and enjoy the holidays with their families,” Addazio said.

Addazio said he expects redshirt-sophomore quarterback Chris Coyer to start on Saturday after recovering from a shoulder injury he suffered against Kent State on the Owls’ last game of the regular season.

“[My shoulder] is feeling great,” Coyer said. “The strength has been coming back a lot. I feel really confident about the game.”

Though the Owls (8-4) have already had one of the most successful seasons in school history, Addazio said the team is primed to pick up its ninth victory.

“This is our championship game, that’s how our kids are viewing this,” Addazio said. “We’re playing for a championship. We want this legacy and we want this for our football team.”

Moore steps up in Big-5 showdown

Redshirt-senior guard Ramone Moore put on a show in one of the biggest games of the final season of his career.

Moore scored a career-high 32 points in Temple’s 78-67 win against Villanova on Saturday night in a Big-5 basketball showdown.

“I think every Big-5 game means more,” Moore said. “I wanted to take the challenge of beating those guys so we could have the bragging rights and say that we won the Big-5 this year.”

“[Moore] is the glue of our group,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “He’s the guy that everybody looks up to. His leadership was critical.”

The Philadelphia native surpassed his previous career best of 30 points in last year’s upset against nationally-ranked [No. 9/10] Georgetown. After averaging 20 points per game in the NCAA Tournament in March, Moore proved again on Saturday that he steps up for his team in big games.

“[Moore] has had a number of these kinds of games over the years when we’ve needed someone to step up,” Dunphy said. “We can’t win this game without him having this kind of game.”

Moore took over the game in the second half, netting 23 of his points in the final 20 minutes. Moore scored 16 points on field goals and 14 on free throws.

Moore said he drove to the paint more in the second half after not shooting well in the first half.

“In the first half my three wasn’t going down,” Moore said. “I said to myself, I’m going to start driving. I tried to be aggressive and get to the free throw line.”

Moore continuously attacked Villanova defenders in the paint and drew the foul in the second half. He finished with a clutch 14 of 15 free throws.

“We were in the bonus [early], so I told the guys, if you can, get to the basket and get to the free throw line,” Moore said. “We go as the game goes.”

Moore’s big day came at a time when two of the Owls’ leading scorers didn’t shoot well. Senior guard Juan Fernandez finished with six points and junior guard Khalif Wyatt shot seven for 19 overall.

In addition to Wyatt and Fernandez’s shooting woes, the Owls were without starting seniors Micheal Eric and Scootie Randall, who are both out indefinitely with injury.

Dunphy said Moore’s performance was a product of the type of person he is.

“[Moore] had to take over, and he did it,” Dunphy said. “But that’s not unexpected. I’m not surprised by it because that’s the kind of character that he has and the kind of person he is.”

“I just tried to be aggressive,” Moore added. “I knew it was going to take one of us to have a big game in order for us to win. I was very fortunate that my teammates put me in situations to score the basketball.”

Moore dropped seven points in a row during a stretch in the game’s final ten minutes, capped off by an acrobatic put back after being fouled while going for a layup. The play sent the sold-out Liacouras Center crowd into a frenzy.

“The fans get excited for this every year,” Moore said. “It makes it even better when we win.”

Moore capped off his career performance by scoring four of the Owls’ final eight points. Overall, Moore scored 32 points in 34 minutes while adding six rebounds and two assists.

“[Moore] has a scorer’s mentality,” Dunphy said. “When you’re coaching someone like that, you get out of the way and let him make the plays he’s going to make.”

Bowl bound

After being left out of the postseason picture last year, Temple will help kick off the bowl season this year in New Mexico.


The Owls (8-4) will make their fourth bowl appearance in program history on Dec. 17 against Wyoming (8-4) in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Set in Albuquerque, N.M. and televised on ESPN, the New Mexico Bowl is the first scheduled game of the college football bowl season.

“I think it’s awfully cool to kick the bowl season off,” coach Steve Addazio said. “People are excited to see the first games. I’m thrilled to death.”

Temple’s decision was announced on Sunday night at the Liacouras Center during a Bowl Selection Party. Last season, the Owls were one of only two teams in the country to not be selected to a bowl game despite being bowl eligible.

“Last year was a really tough time,” John Palumbo, senior offensive lineman and team captain, said.
“This year we were a little more skeptical. Now that we definitely have the bowl game we’re going to do the best we can to get our team prepared to go out there and do the best we can.”

The Owls will have an opportunity to do what only one other Temple team has accomplished. The Owls have appeared in bowl games in 1935, 1979 and 2009, with the 1979 team having the lone bowl win during the program’s history.

“It’s been pretty special,” Palumbo said. “Just thinking back on all the time we’ve had together, all the hard work we’ve put in, it’s really nice to see it pay off.”

Temple could hardly have asked for a better draw. The run-heavy Owls’ offense will be matched up against one of the worst statistical rushing defenses in the country with the Cowboys.

The Owls average more than 250 rushing yards per game, which is the seventh-best mark in the country. Junior running back Bernard Pierce has rushed for 1,381 yards and 25 touchdowns, a mark that is tied for third best in the nation.

The Cowboys have the sixth-worst rushing defense in the country, giving up more than 230 rushing yards per game.

Pierce was unavailable for comment Sunday night in response to rumors that he had filed paperwork for early entry into the NFL draft.

With Pierce, junior running back Matt Brown and redshirt-sophomore quarterback Chris Coyer, Wyoming may have their hands full with Temple’s spread offense.

“[Wyoming] has a good record, but I know that we’re going to beat them,” said Adrian Robinson, senior defensive end and team captain. “I hope they come with their best, because we’re going to come with our best, too.”

Overall, Wyoming statistically is middle of the pack. They have the 60th ranked scoring offense in the country and the 66th ranked scoring defense. Temple counters with the 45th scoring offense in the country, anchored by their Top 10 running game, and the third-best scoring defense in nation.

Like Temple, Wyoming benefited from playing in a mediocre conference, the Mountain West. While the Cowboys had one win versus an out-of conference team with a winning record, the Owls were unable to beat a bowl-eligible team outside of the Mid-American Conference.

The Owls said they expect the game to be a contest of two evenly matched teams.

“[Wyoming] is a wide open team,” Addazio said. “They’re a good football team, an exciting team. I think it’ll be a heck of a football game.”

“They have the same record as us. They’re a good team,” said Tahir Whitehead, senior linebacker and team captain. “I know they’re going to come out swinging. So are we.”

Addazio has a chance to be the first coach in Temple history to win a bowl game in his first season after already winning a record eight games in his first year.

“Honestly, it’s about what it means for this university,” Addazio said. “For the university, to be able, in the last three years, to get to two bowl appearances, it just continues the growth of this program.”

A Temple victory in the New Mexico Bowl would give the senior class 31 wins during their four-year tenure, setting a new mark for an all-time program best. A win would also make the senior class the second to win a bowl game, further cementing the notion that this is one of the best classes in Temple football history.

“[Addazio] and the team have put a good thing together and have given the seniors a chance to play one extra game and I’m very grateful for that,” said Morkeith Brown, senior defensive end and team captain.
“It’s my last year, and there’s nothing like going out with a bang,” Brown added.

Penn State scandal could alter PA open records law

A proposed amendment to an existing law would require Temple to further disclose its financial information and other records to the public.

State Rep. Eugene DePasquale (D-York) introduced a bill yesterday, Dec. 5, that would remove Temple’s exemption from Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know law, which allows news organizations and the public to gain access to documents from publicly-funded institutions.

Defined as state-related institutions, Temple, Penn State, University of Pittsburgh and Lincoln University are the lone schools in Pennsylvania that are supported in state aid but do not have to abide by all of the obligations of the Right-to- Know law.

As the law stands today, Temple is required to disclose the salaries of all its officers and directors and the salaries of the 25 highest paid employees, in addition to a tax filing.

Temple is not required to release any documents, school records or correspondences between officials that the public may request.

DePasquale’s proposed amendment would remove the exemption on the four universities and require the schools to fully adhere to the provisions of the Right-to-Know law.

“My hope is to have greater transparency across the board,” DePasquale said. “Greater transparency is good for everyone in the long run.”

Originally, the Right-to-Know law didn’t include state-related institutions at all. A 2008 rewrite of the bill, entitled Act 3, mandated that the four schools disclose certain financial information, but exempted them from other provisions of the law.

Ray Betzner, assistant vice president of university communications, said that the distinction between the four state-related institutions and other state schools lies in the actual amount of funding received from the state.

“[Temple] is state-related. The other schools are wholly state-owned and operated,” Betzner said. “We exist in a separate category from that. State schools receive a much larger share of funding from Pennsylvania than the state-related schools.”

Journalism law professor Fran Viola said that students, faculty and Pennsylvania taxpayers should have the right to know what is going on at the university.

“We have the right to know what’s going on in organizations that we are paying to operate,” Viola said.

“There needs to be a greater degree of transparency to those folks, the parents, the students, the prospective students and their families in addition to the taxpayers.”

With DePasquale’s amendment, any Temple document or record requested by the public would then be appealed to the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records for a decision on its release.

“This stuff is public information, the public should readily have access to it,” DePasquale said.
“Especially when it comes to things that are being spent with taxpayers dollars. The public has a right to know.”

Former Penn State President Graham Spanier lobbied in 2007 to prevent the 2008 rewrite of the law from including a provision that would require state-related institutions to disclose information about private donors.

While Act 3 included Spanier’s proposed clause, Spanier was fired in November amid claims that the Penn State athletic department and administration helped cover up acts of sexual assault that allegedly occurred on campus.

In response to requests from news organizations for documents relating to the sexual assault scandal, Penn State has used its exemption from the Right-to-Know law as cause to not release the documents.

Although DePasquale said he believes that the exemption for schools in the Right-to-Know law has been misguided since its inception, he noted that the recent scandal at Penn State had made his proposal timelier.

“Penn State has a huge credibility gap regarding the latest scandal,” DePasquale said. “I believe [the amendment] could be a way to win back the trust of the people of the state.”

Betzner said that Temple has heard the concerns of state legislators and is looking forward to working with them as the legislative process plays out. He added that no matter what happens, Temple will fulfill its duties under the law.

“Temple has complied with the law during the period of time,” Betzner said. “If the law changes, Temple will comply with the law as it’s going to be changed.”