|Thank You Baylor Nation
11:30 A.M. FRIDAY, JUNE 18, 2010
The past couple weeks rate as the most unique and challenging of my professional career as Baylor Nation has waged its efforts to keep the Big 12 together. During this roller coaster-ride, I was grateful and humbled by the incredible support of our Board of Regents, President Starr, our alumni and friends, many political leaders, the local business community along with the tireless efforts of our staff.
As a result of all of these efforts by Baylor Nation and other important leaders throughout the Big 12, our athletics program will continue to enjoy a bright future and we look forward to continued success with our longtime Conference partners for many years to come.
At the same time as we reflect upon these recent events, it is important to recognize how precious and valuable Big 12 membership is to Baylor and Central Texas. Ray Perryman's economic study suggests that the loss of this extraordinary asset would cost $700 million in economic impact and more than 6,000 jobs. In addition, the strength of the Baylor brand and momentum that our athletics program is enjoying would be seriously diminished.
Clearly, conference realignment centers squarely on the sport of football and its television appeal. With that, we need Baylor Nation to vigorously support Coach Briles and Baylor football to the maximum extent possible. We are blessed with more than 140,000 alums and more than 250,000 citizens of McLennan County who can make a huge difference by purchasing season tickets and joining the Bear Foundation.
The University cannot again be put at risk of being outside of major conference affiliation, and so many fans have asked what they can do to ensure Baylor's long-term viability. It is Baylor Nation that can ensure that the stands are full and the football program is being fully supported to achieve its goals for success. Please purchase your football season tickets today by calling the Athletics Ticket Office at 254-710-1000. Many questions are being asked about how the 10-team Big 12 will operate. I am very encouraged by the preliminary discussions that are taking place and believe that a nine-game conference football schedule and 18-game men's and women's basketball schedule will serve the membership very well.
This will strengthen our rivalries with the northern teams in the conference and create a more equitable method for determining the regular season championship.
There is a great deal of planning yet to be done regarding transitional issues and I am grateful to have such outstanding counterparts within the conference along with the leadership of Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe as we address these critically important issues.
Before moving on to a few other topics, I owe a debt of gratitude to each of you and Baylor Nation for your thoughts, prayers and concern during the past couple of weeks. I am deeply appreciative for this outpouring of support!
While conference affiliation efforts have consumed much of our time in recent weeks, the athletics department will be busy with several important projects this summer. We have begun the construction of a new football drill field behind the Highers Athletics Complex that will be ready when fall camp starts in early August. Also, the new synthetic turf project at Floyd Casey Stadium has begun and the surface will be installed prior to the start of the 2010 season. We will be utilizing Hellas turf which is the same product used at Cowboys Stadium and the Jay and Jenny Allison Indoor Practice Facility. The installation will be wall-to-wall and eliminate the beige surface around the field's perimeter.
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 a new locker room for this first year program. In addition, the volleyball locker room will be enhanced as part of the project.
Also, we look forward to the completion of the Getterman Softball Practice Facility this month. This project will make college athletics' finest softball facility even better and provide our student-athletes with a first-class place to practice.
Finally, Baylor stands 38th in the Learfield Sports Director's Cup rankings with baseball, men's golf and men's and women's track and field results yet to be calculated. With that, we are anticipating that this will be one of our best years ever in this all-sports ranking.
We have received a few Ask Ian questions in the past two weeks.
The recent Big 12 nightmare made me more appreciative of our Baylor athletic programs and helped me understand the importance of a successful football program. I live 7.5 hours away and it is not really feasible to attend games. I am no millionaire, what is the best to financially support Baylor Bear football.
Thank you for your comments and interest in supporting Baylor football. The best way for Baylor Nation to support Baylor Athletics is by purchasing season- or single-game tickets, joining the Baylor Bear Foundation or supporting the excellence fund of their favorite team.
Given that distance is an issue for you and several in Baylor Nation, make it a point to return to campus for just one football game each year as a starting point for helping us continue to build a bright future for Baylor Athletics! Your support will make a difference in the success of our program!
When the Lord moves, it is quick & decisive. I am thankful the Lord protected Baylor.
I am sure you learned things during your meetings with the other Big 12 AD's over the last month.
I trust you will be able to clearly communicate, in the near future, what issues Baylor Athletics must address.
Thanks for your tireless efforts.
Thank you for the e-mail. The Lord has shown Baylor University great favor during these days and all of us have much to celebrate. Yes, Baylor Nation is a powerful way to recognize our many alumni and friends who afford incredible support to the University. I hope that you have had a chance to visit the Baylor Nation website as it has been highly viewed over the past couple of weeks.
It has never been more clear what issues Baylor Athletics must address. We need to support our football program at the highest level and that takes alumni and friends buying season tickets, contributing to the Bear Foundation and helping us achieve our facilities goals.
In doing so, we will position Baylor as one of the nation's top athletics programs.
I have read that the reason the Pac-10 did not want Baylor is that Baylor is not a Tier 1 school. Is this true, and is that the reason?
Baylor compares favorably from an academic standpoint to the two new members of the Pac-10 Conference, the University of Colorado and University of Utah. With that, the conference realignment process is not centered on academic compatibility, but football television revenue.
With that, we need to support Baylor football and Coach Briles as he builds a winning program.
This is not a question but a "Thank You." I deeply appreciate the way fans can purchase season football tickets on an installment basis. I am retired and living on a fixed income. This plan enables me to purchase season tickets and go to the games. I love Baylor Bear Football games and can hardly wait for September.
I appreciate the `thank you'. We have had a number of fans purchase season tickets on the installment plan so this has met with a positive response. We are looking forward to the 2010 season and believe it will end with a bowl game!
Are there currently any plans to upgrade the audio and video system at Floyd Casey? It would be great to watch RGIII replays in high definition and the audio quality upgrade would definitely help with the homefield advantage.
We have preliminary plans to make a number of upgrades to Floyd Casey Stadium as part of a master planning process. However, before we make any major investments there needs to be a determination as to whether this facility will be the long-term home to Baylor football or whether the University would be better served with a facility on or adjacent to campus.
How do we get more students to attend men's basketball games at the Ferrell Center? What changes will be made to improve the atmosphere inside the arena (once you get students to show up for games other than Texas and Texas A&M)?
Our men's basketball team has "turned the corner" and is poised to continue a winning tradition. Kudos to you, Scott Drew, and the fine young men who play the game. How will you work to create a game day atmosphere (at ALL games!) on par with what you would find at Allen Field House or Cameron Indoor Arena? Our players deserve it.
Thank you for the e-mail and comments.
We were pleased with the student basketball attendance for conference games at the Ferrell Center this year including the incredible support of the Bear Pit. Coach Drew and his team have attracted a strong and loyal following of students that has increased each of the last three years.
I expect that this trend will continue following the Elite Eight run this year and with exciting prospects for the upcoming season we will be working with the Bear Pit and other student groups to continue growing student attendance at all of our events.