|Regents Approve Several Facility Projects, Upgrades
1:20 P.M. FRIDAY, MAY 14, 2010
The 2009-10 year is going to be remembered as one of the best ever for Baylor Athletics and we have yet to reach the finish line!
While the Baylor family continues to celebrate the extraordinary success of our basketball programs, BU spring teams are heading into postseason play. Men's and women's golf have advanced to NCAA regional competition. Baylor's No. 1-ranked women's tennis team and No. 7 men's tennis team will host NCAA first and second round competition at the Baylor Tennis Center this weekend. The track and field teams head to Missouri for the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championship. Baylor softball begins play in the Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City, while the baseball team travels to Texas Tech for an important late-season series.
Currently, Baylor stands 50th in the Learfield Sports Director's Cup rankings. The spring season has traditionally been a rallying time for Baylor, so we are looking forward to one of our best finishes in this all-sports measurement of the nation's athletics programs.
Also, spring means that we are in the final weeks of the annual Bear Foundation Fund Drive. Thanks to the marvelous effort of our staff, volunteers and donors, we are closing in on another record-setting BBF year. However, we still have several hundred non-renewed members and look forward to welcoming additional first-time members to the Bear Foundation. Please help us keep the momentum building by joining the Bear Foundation today by calling 254-710-2582 or join on-line at http://www.baylor.edu/bearfoundation.
The athletics department will be busy with several important projects this summer. New synthetic turf will be installed at Floyd Casey Stadium prior to the start of the 2010 season. We will be utilizing Hellas turf which is the same product used in the Jay and Jenny Allison Indoor Practice Facility and Cowboys Stadium. The installation will be wall-to-wall and eliminate the beige surface around the perimeter of the field.
In addition, we are grateful that the Board of Regents has approved a new state-of-the-art, center-hung videoboard for the Ferrell Center. This board will be a tremendous asset for recruiting, fan engagement and help us create the best homecourt advantage in the Big 12! We are in the process of completing fundraising for this project in order to meet the installation deadlines to have it in place for the upcoming volleyball and basketball seasons.
The University will be completing a renovation of Marrs McLean Gym to accommodate Baylor's 19th intercollegiate team, Competitive Cheer. There will be new office space, an expanded training room and new locker room for this first year program. In addition, the volleyball locker room will be enhanced as part of the project.
Finally, we look forward to the completion of the Getterman Softball Practice Facility in June. This project will make college athletics' finest softball facility even better and provide our student-athletes with a first-class place to practice.
At the same time, we remain focused on completing the outstanding capital projects from the Victory With Integrity campaign including an on-campus track and indoor tennis facility. In addition, I look forward to working with university leadership to determine how best to address the future facility needs of Baylor football.
We are excited about providing widespread exposure and elevated interest for Baylor football in 2010 with new radio affiliates in Houston and the Metroplex. Dallas' ESPN 103.3 FM and Houston's KNTH AM 1070 will anchor the Baylor-ISP Sports Network's coverage in the state's two largest cities and coupled with Sirius satellite radio (channel 161) will provide Baylor football with a tremendous platform.
I have been receiving a number of questions from staff, fans and media regarding the discussions about conference realignment and expansion. While the Big Ten does appear to be seriously discussing possible expansion opportunities, my sense is that the changes will be less dramatic than what many in the media are predicting.
Baylor is blessed to be in the nation's best conference based upon competitive success in all sports, and, in my view, the Big 12 has a bright and stable future. We are grateful to have 12 institutions in close proximity which is ideal for scheduling, travel and championships in all sports. Many of the conference realignment scenarios presented in the media are terribly impractical, unwieldy and detrimental to the student-athlete experience.
Within the next 12 to 18 months, I expect that the Big 12 will grow its television revenues exponentially which may include the development of a branded network. This will generate resources that will allow the conference to be in a more favorable position relative to the Big Ten and SEC.
At the same time, I am spending a considerable amount of time monitoring the realignment and expansion conversation as the Big 12 is one of Baylor University's greatest institutional assets. With that, we look forward to continuing to thrive in this conference for many years to come.
Finally, congratulations to Baylor's men's and women's golf teams on receiving national recognition from the NCAA for superior Academic Progress Rates. Academic excellence continues to be a hallmark of Baylor Athletics.
We have received several Ask Ian questions in the past several weeks.
I just want to congratulate you and your staff and whoever else is involved with the www.baylorbears.com website. Of course, since I am located here at Joint Base Balad (JBB) in Balad, Iraq as a civilian contractor, my only news about Baylor sports come from the Internet.
I have always been able to find the most current events, scores, activities, etc. on this website. I would almost venture to say that this is my lifeline to Baylor Athletics. Great job and another outstanding year in Baylor sports!
Robert G Corley
Editor's Note: Similar question received from William Boone (Houston, Texas).
Thank you for the kind comments about baylorbears.com. Our staff does a tremendous job with this website and the traffic has increased dramatically over the past year. In fact, a recent survey suggests that the site is the No. 1 source of information among Baylor fans.
We are glad that you can follow the Bears in Iraq, and special thanks for your service to our nation!
I was just curious what happened to the Notre Dame-Baylor football game that was scheduled but did not have a venue. Thanks.
The Notre Dame - Baylor football game originally scheduled for 2012 has been cancelled. Despite the best efforts of both institutions, the television parameters and availability of facilities did not allow us to find a suitable neutral site to play this game.
I appreciate your support and interest in Baylor Athletics!
What is the status for the big player banner that hangs on the outside of the stadium for J.D. Walton?
Thank you for the e-mail. It is great to hear from you.
The J.D. Walton All-American banner is in production and will adorn Floyd Casey Stadium next fall. We are very proud of J.D.'s accomplishments at Baylor and wish him much success and happiness in Denver.
Sic 'em Bears!
Our golf team just completed a complete sweep of the Baylor Spring Invitational. Considering how young they are (only 1 senior), they are poised to make some noise in the Big 12 in years to come.
I realize that funds are tight with the economy, but what can we as individuals do to help raise money for this program?
Women's tennis and basketball have reached elite status. Golf can obtain that ranking with the extra funding.
Thank you for the e-mail and all of us were excited about the women's golf team winning its tournament. We are always seeking development support for all of our teams and overall athletics program.
Each Baylor team has an excellence fund and we allow gifts to be contributed directly to the program. For more information, you can contact the Bear Foundation or go to the website www.baylor.edu/bearfoundation/index.php?id=66757.
You are absolutely correct that financial support provided to a program has a direct correlation to its ability to experience competitive success, so I encourage everyone in the Baylor family to support your favorite teams as well as the Bear Foundation which provides support for student-athlete scholarships!
My question involves football scheduling. Do we have plans to ever maintain a yearly game with in-state rivals such as TCU or SMU? These private schools from the SWC are great rivalries that most Baylor people remember well, the games generate in-state interest from viewers and potential recruits, and the atmosphere for such games are great.
I know we have games scheduled against TCU, SMU and Rice in the future, but will we ever make one (TCU) or all of these teams yearly matchups?
Editor's Note: A similar question was received from Stan Perry (Houston, Texas)
We have our future football schedules nearly complete through 2016 and I invite you to look at them at the following web address: http://www.baylorbears.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/081400aaa.html. As you can see, we have a number of non-conference contests against in-state opponents including SMU, TCU and Rice.
We feel that these games are of interest to our fans and allow us to play in markets with large numbers of Baylor alums.
I am fortunate to live in the Dallas area, and get to attend many Baylor sports events throughout each season.
Are there going to be any renewed "Gold Rush" efforts--for football and other sports?
On television, green and white shirts don't show up as clearly as the gold shirts, making the crowd seem less filled with Baylor fans. I noticed this in particular after attending the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 events in Houston. In re-watching the event when I returned, the Baylor contingent did not look as large. Especially for games with such national exposure, the fan base should look unified.
Thanks and Sic 'em!
Kerry Ann Miller
Thank you for the e-mail and question. Baylor Athletics is going to renew the Gold Rush program this summer in concert with our new licensing partner, LRG. We look forward to distributing Gold Rush t-shirts to retail stores throughout Central Texas as well as the Metroplex and Houston. We want to encourage all of our fans to come early, wear Gold and cheer loud for the Bears in 2010-11!