Spokesman: Athletic cuts not on tomorrow’s BOT agenda

The university’s decision to eliminate seven intercollegiate sports from its NCAA sponsorship will not be an item on the agenda for tomorrow’s Board of Trustees meeting, a university spokesman said.

“It’s already been voted on and approved by the board,” said Ray Betzner, associate vice president for executive communications. “The issue’s already been decided.”

The Board of Trustees approved a recommendation from Athletic Director Kevin Clark on Friday to cut baseball, softball, men’s gymnastics, men’s crew, women’s rowing and men’s indoor and outdoor track & field, effective July 1, 2014. Betzner said no representatives from any of these sports or any other sports are scheduled to speak at the meeting.

When Temple was kicked out of the Big East Conference in 2001, men’s basketball coach John Chaney gave the president’s report in place of President David Adamany at a board meeting less than two weeks after the announcement. A representative from the women’s basketball team, Athletic Director Dave O’Brien and chairman Howard Gittis also gave presentations on athletics.

Tomorrow’s meeting will be held in public session at 3:30 p.m. on the 27th floor of Morgan Hall.

Gimme some of Your tots, tot truck

On Sept. 10, 2011, a Twitter account named “The Tot Cart” tweeted, “A food cart. With tater tots. Just tots. Is coming. Soon. To a street corner near you. Philadelphia here we come.”

Less than two years later, the vision has come to fruition, as The Tot Cart had its grand opening in front of Speakman Hall on Saturday, March 16. The truck was scheduled to be open from 3 p.m. to midnight, but closed early at 8 p.m. due to weather conditions. Still, Julie Crist, the woman behind The Tot Truck, said she sold approximately 150 orders of tots.

“It went really well, despite the weather and students being on spring break,” Crist said. “It was a really good soft opening.”

The Tot Truck, as you might expect, serves only tots. In addition to the standard high-school cafeteria side dish, Crist’s menu offers specialty flavors, including buffalo, garlic parmesan and Indian-spiced tots. Her “drunk cheese tots,” are covered in cheese whiz, what she calls her “special cheese recipe.” Original tots cost $3 and those with toppings are $4.

Crist is a 2002 alumna of the School of Media and Communication and is employed full time by Fox School of Business as the Associate Director for the MBA program. She said she got the idea for The Tot Truck from her own experience in graduate school.

“I went to Drexel for grad school and there was a taco truck that was open from 11 p.m. to 7 in the morning and it would have students lined up in front of it,” Crist said. “I started getting the idea of doing something similar but didn’t know what to do, so I started messing with tater tot recipes.”

The truck will be open only on Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Crist said she might take the next couple of weekends off as she waits for the weather to clear up before doing another “full blown” opening on the first weekend of April.

Crist said the process she had to go through to get her own food truck on campus took about two years. She had to buy a truck, get approved by the Department of Health, take a food safety class and acquire a permit from the Department of Licenses for a “non-permanent vending location,” in addition to a vending license.

“It’s a lot of paperwork,” Crist said.

Why do all of that work for tater tots? Crist said she wanted to appeal to the schoolboy and schoolgirl in everyone.

“Why not tater tots?” she said. “Any type of person likes tater tots, anyone from a 4-year-old kid, to a college student, to adults. People have a nostalgic thing about tater tots. They were served them in the cafeteria in elementary school. I think they’re one of those things. People of all types like them.”

Parks and Recreation holds hearing over Temple’s proposed boathouse

The Commission of Parks and Recreation held a public hearing on Boathouse Row Wednesday night discussing Temple’s proposal to build its own boathouse.

At Lloyd Hall gymnasium in a hearing that lasted more than two hours, dozens of members of the public spoke to the 14-person commission arguing for and against the proposal.

Temple is trying to acquire a half-acre plot of land to build a new boathouse on Kelly Drive, south of the Strawberry Mansion Bridge and north of the East Park Canoe House, Temple’s rowing home until it was condemned in 2008.

ABI REIMOLD TTN FILE PHOTO | Tents have been utilized for Temple crew teams in lieu of a boathouse.

The university submitted an analysis to the city in October 2012 arguing for the public good of the boathouse that had to undergo a period of 30 days of public comment before Wednesday’s meeting reviewing the proposal.

Proponents of the new boathouse argued in favor of giving the student-athletes, who have been forced to share space in a tent, a home to call their own, as well as the public interest in beautifying an otherwise unused piece of land.

Opponents of the proposal say that Temple hasn’t fulfilled all the requirements of a city ordinance passed last year, requiring any entity seeking to transfer ownership of public parkland to give back an equal plot of land to the city.

Temple included in its proposal a pledge to donate $1.5 million to renovating the East Park Canoe House to fulfill that requirement.

Members of the public say that donating money to restoring a building cannot be translated to the prerequisite of substitute land.

Considering the arguments, the Commission will present its official recommendation to City Council, which has the power of approval, on March 9.

For a full story on the hearing, check back with temple-news.com.

Trial set for ex-football player

The trial for Praise Martin-Oguike, a former football player who was arrested and charged with rape and sexual assault in June, was set for March 4, 2013 at a scheduling conference this morning.

Martin-Oguike was not present at the conference. He was suspended from the football team and the university pending the outcome of his criminal proceedings upon his arrest. Whether Martin-Oguike has appeared at a Temple Student Conduct hearing is unclear, but his lawyer said he won’t be in school this year.

Martin-Oguike’s defense presented a forensic report before the court at the scheduling conference. The report, conducted by former Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jonathan Arden, offers conclusions different from the claims made by the complainant in this case, a 21-year old female who said she was strangled and forcibly raped, Martin-Oguike’s lawyer said.

The prosecution will have 60 days to review the report before having the opportunity to submit a rebuttal at a status report scheduled for Dec. 14. A pre-trial was also scheduled for Feb. 28, 2013.

Kamal Johnson, a defensive tackle for the football team, was arrested on Oct. 5 and charged with kidnapping and assault. He was suspended from the football team, but his status as a student at the university has not changed, the university announced yesterday.

A-10 releases men’s basketball schedule

The Atlantic Ten Conference has released its schedule for the 2012-13 season, identifying the 16 games that the men’s basketball team will play in conference.

Temple will play home games against Duquesne, La Salle, Rhode Island, Richmond, St. Bonaventure, Saint Louis and new conference member Virginia Commonwealth University.

The Owls travel to Butler, Charlotte, Dayton, Fordham, George Washington, Massachusetts, Saint Joseph’s University and Xavier to fill the rest of their in-conference schedule.

Temple’s lone home-and-home matchup in the A-10 will be with Charlotte.

Ex-football player charged with rape

Praise Martin-Oguike, a freshman and former linebacker with the football team, has been released on bail amid allegations of rape and sexual assault, among other charges.

Police say Martin-Oguike raped and sexually assaulted a 21-year-old female Temple student in his 1940 Residence Hall dormitory on Saturday, May 26. Martin-Oguike has been suspended from the university and the football team while facing charges of aggravated assault, forcible rape, sexual assault, unlawful restraint and false imprisonment.

“Our chief concern is for the safety of our students,” Ray Betzner, assistant vice president of university communications, said. “We worked with the victim of this case to help her as much as we could.”

Temple students, who are informed via TU Alert of shootings or other dangerous activity occurring on campus, are not notified by the university of sexual assault or rape that occurs on campus until a report is filed annually as mandated by the Clery Act. Betzner said the university would not be releasing a statement on the matter.

“Had there been a reason for us to believe that students are not safe once we learned of this incident, we would have taken the appropriate actions,” Betzner said.

Martin-Oguike played in games against Buffalo and Ball State last season, registering three total tackles. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 14.

Liacouras Center to receive HD screen

The Liacouras Center will upgrade its fan experience with a series of high definition video screens for the start of the 2012-13 men’s basketball season.

The upgrade will include four Diamond Vision, HD screens measuring 7 feet high and 10 feet wide that will replace the current center-hanging structure and face each side of the court.

The HD screen will be used to display live-action replays, player introductions and real time game stats. The center-hang structure will be complemented by an LED ribbon system that will spread across the 200 Level façade.

The move, made possible by a multi-year agreement between Temple and ANC Sports Enterprises, was made in preparation for the Owls’ move to the Big East conference at the start of the 2013-14 season.

New housing complex named for donor

The residence hall complex being built at Broad and Cecil streets will be named after Board of Trustees member Mitchell L. Morgan and his wife, Hilarie.

Mitchell and Hilarie Morgan Hall, set to be finished building in 2013, will have a 26-story tower along with a 7-story mid-rise complete with a dining facility, retail stores and 1,200 beds.

Morgan earned degrees in business administration and law from Temple and has been a member of the BOT since 2002. As chair of the facilities committee, Morgan oversaw the Tyler School of Art move to Main Campus and the building of a new School of Medicine.

Morgan is a member of Temple’s Chairman’s Circle, recognizing donors that have pledged more than $1 million to the university. A $5 million donation from Morgan to the university was approved at the Dec. 13, 2011 BOT meeting.

Golf places 10th at A-10 Championships

The golf team struggled to a 10th place finish out of 11 teams at the rain-shortened Atlantic Ten Conference men’s golf championship held in Coral Gables, Fla.

Leading the way for the Owls was freshman Paul Carbone who carded a five-over-par 149 (73-76), which was good for 31st overall. Following Carbone were sophomore Matthew Crescenzo who finished tied for 36th as well as junior devin Bibeau and sophomore Russell Hartung who each tied for 44th respectively.

The team was held back by an overwhelming amount of youth compared to the teams that finished near the top of the championship. George Washington won the tournament setting a 36-hole record, they have six seniors and juniors on their roster compared to one junior hitting the links for the Cherry and White.

For a team that is so young struggles early can be expected, it is up to the coaching staff and the roster to work over the summer to develop their talents to reach the true potential that this roster holds.

The summer is the most crucial part of the year for such a young squad. There is a wide amount of tournaments for players who need to improve moving forward such as freshman Mike Amole who has shown potential throughout the year but struggled in Coral Gables. The future certainly looks bright with a young roster but coach Brian Quinn will need to work hard and often to help this team touch the ceiling they are capable of reaching.

-Anthony Bellino

Temple hosts Bergen/Kelly Cup Regatta

Both the men’s crew and women’s rowing teams competed in the Bergen/Kelly Cup Regatta today on the Schuylkill River.

On a cool clear morning, the men’s crew team placed second in all races except for the Freshmen 4 in the Bergen Cup Regatta.

The Freshmen 4 shell, comprised of coxswain Matthew Ciarela coxswain, Connor Murphy in seat 4, Pat Woodruff in seat 3, Josh Kuzo in seat 2, and Frank Dipentino sitting bow, took first place in their race with a time of 6 minutes and 48.4 seconds.

The closest finish came in the second Varsity 8 competition, with Temple finishing only two seconds behind the first place time of St. Joseph’s.

For the women’s team, the day didn’t go quite as well.

In their competition in the Kelly Cup Regatta, the Owls failed to place higher than third place. Both Varsity 8 competitions had Temple finishing third in front of LaSalle each time.

The Varsity 4 is where the women struggled the most.

With coxswain sophomore Katie Cardwell, sophomore Blair Bradley in seat 4, sophomore Sarah Barber seat 3, sophomore Megan Boyer in seat 2 and sophomore Lauren Kidd sitting bow in the shell, the Owls finished last, nine seconds behind fifth place Drexel.

Up next for the Owls is the Atlantic Ten Conference Championships on May 5th in Pennsauken, New Jersey.