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.

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.

Former football player postpones hearing

Praise Martin-Oguike, a former linebacker for the football team charged with rape and sexual assault, had his court hearing postponed Thursday morning after signing a waiver to delay his proceedings until July 31.

Martin-Oguike faces charges stemming from a May 26 incident in his 1940 Residence Hall dorm room in which a woman alleges the former football player raped and sexually assaulted her. Martin-Oguike has been suspended from the football team pending the charges.

James Funt, Martin-Oguike’s attorney, maintained his client’s innocence in a press release on June 14.

“Praise Martin-Oguike’s entire life and liberty have been jeopardized by these unfounded accusations,” Funt said. “Pending the final resolution of this matter he has been unjustly expelled from school, his collegiate scholarship funding has been revoked and he has been kicked off the football team based solely on uncorroborated accusations.    We look forward to presenting the full story before a jury as soon as possible.”

Martin-Oguike, football coach Steve Addazio and Funt were not available for comment Thursday.

Khalif Wyatt charged with soliciting a prostitute

Khalif Wyatt, the men’s basketball team’s second-leading scorer last season, was arrested along with 27 other people in Atlantic City, N.J., Sunday morning.

Wyatt is reportedly facing charges that include soliciting a prostitute and resisting arrest, according to multiple news outlets. Charges assert that a prostitute who was actually an undercover police officer was solicited in the New Jersey town. Others arrested at the time are facing drug charges.

“I apologize to my family, teammates, coaches and Temple University for the embarrassment that I have caused,” Wyatt said in a statement. “I was in Atlantic City this past weekend celebrating my 21st birthday with friends and exercised very poor judgment by allowing myself and my friends to be put in a compromising situation. I intend to cooperate with the authorities during their investigation and the legal process.”

Whether Wyatt will face disciplinary action from the university stemming from the incident is currently unknown.

“We have just become aware of the charges and are still gathering information at this point,” Larry Dougherty, senior associate athletic director for communications, said in a statement.

Check temple-news.com for more information.

[Updated at 11:23 p.m.]

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.

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.

Rodriguez, Whitehead drafted

Former Temple players, tight end Evan Rodriguez and linebacker Tahir Whitehead, were drafted by the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions, respectively, on the third day of the NFL Draft.

Rodriguez was drafted 111th overall in the fourth round and Whitehead was selected 138th overall in the fifth round. Rodriguez and Whitehead join former Temple running back Bernard Pierce, who was drafted 84th overall by the Baltimore Ravens, to become the second and third players drafted.

Rodriguez led the Owls with 35 receptions and 479 yards, adding two touchdowns, in the 2011-12 season. Whitehead finished third on the team with 70 tackles, including 11 in the 2011 Gildan New Mexico Bowl in which he was named the game’s defensive most valuable player.

Coach Steve Addazio said Wednesday that he expected three Temple players to get drafted, and another four to sign as free agents. Former Temple offensive lineman Derek Dennis is reportedly receiving looks from NFL teams and could be the fourth Owl drafted.