|Fall Sports Gearing Up For a Great Year
11:30 A.M. WEDNESDAY, AUG. 11, 2010
Hello Baylor Family,
As Baylor pre-season fall camps get underway, it is an exciting time of year as we welcome a strong group of new student-athletes to Baylor, and welcome back our returning student-athletes. In my seven years at Baylor, there has never been as much excitement and anticipation about the prospects of an upcoming year as we are now experiencing. I know that you join me in wishing all of our student-athletes and teams great success in 2010-11!
This has been a busy and productive summer throughout the athletics department. We have received many positive responses in relation to the "Rise Up" marketing campaign. Our marketing staff is to be commended for this excellent work and it has translated into a significant increase in football season ticket sales. Thus far, we are tracking more than 1,000 season tickets ahead of the same time last year and expect to reach 13,000 not including students. President Starr has issued a call to the Baylor family and Waco community to "Fill the Stands," and we are very encouraged by the number of first-time season ticket holders. In addition, we are pleased with the single-game sales to date and believe that we will be in position to challenge the six-game home season attendance record this year.
The athletics department has been busy with several important projects this summer. We have completed the construction of a new football drill field behind the Highers Athletics Complex that provides much needed space for the football team to train. Also, the new synthetic turf project at Floyd Casey Stadium has been completed and is ready for the 2010 season. The Hellas turf is wall-to-wall and eliminates 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 by October for the 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.
These new projects, coupled with our incredible existing facilities, place Baylor Athletics in an enviable position to attract the best and brightest prospective student-athletes for many years to come. Recruiting is at the core of success in intercollegiate athletics and I continue to be impressed and proud of the work that Baylor coaches are doing. We are attracting student-athletes to Baylor who are capable of successfully competing at the highest level of the Big 12 and nationally who are desirous of a high quality academic experience in a smaller class, private University setting in a Christian environment. Baylor delivers all of these qualities and much more making it a preferred destination for many families and student-athletes in Texas and throughout the country.
I hope that you will take the opportunity to read the 2009-10 Baylor Athletics annual report which is available at baylorbears.com. The report highlights the academic, athletic and administrative accomplishments that took place last year. It was a special year for Baylor Athletics on many levels and Baylor Nation has much to celebrate.
We have received a few Ask Ian questions in the past few weeks.
First, I would like to commend you on your leadership during this conference realignment saga. I appreciate everything you did to help save this conference.
It has been reported that after Nebraska leaves in 2011, and after Colorado leaves in 2012, the league will switch to a 9-game round-robin conference schedule. Is the league considering scheduling 10 conference games for 2011 when we will have 11 conference members? If so, where does that leave us considering we already have complete schedules for 2011 and 2012 that include four non-conference games?
Thank you for the kind e-mail. Big 12 membership is one of Baylor's greatest assets and we are pleased that the conference situation has stabilized. I anticipate that the Big 12 will have nine conference football games each year beginning in 2011.
Once the schedule is finalized, we will need to make some adjustments to our non-conference football schedule as we have four conference games in a number of years well into the future.
Dear Mr. McCaw:
As a long-time 4 seat season ticket holder the sweat was pouring from my brow during the Big 12 negotiations. I thank you and Mr. Starr for the work you have done to save this conference. I have always thought BU needs an on-campus stadium like ATM or UT for the very reason that we could be facing a scrambling act on conference realignment.
It seems to me it is inevitable that BU must do this to remain viable with other state schools as the evolution of college sports can change on a dime as we have just discovered. My question is are there any discussions regarding such and/or are there any blue prints in the works? Thank you.
Trophy Club, Texas
Thank you for the kind comments. Judge Starr was a terrific leader for the University during the Big 12 situation and we had a high level of involvement and support from the Board of Regents and key alumni and government officials.
During this process, we learned that it is critical that Baylor fans "Fill the Stands" at Floyd Casey Stadium and support Coach Briles as he builds a winning football program. Football success and television ratings are critical components in driving conference revenue and therefore affiliation.
With that, there is a great deal of interest and widespread expression of support for an on-campus football stadium. At this time, it is fair to categorize this potential project as being at the discussion stage.
Congratulations on Baylor's outstanding performances this year. The 31st-place finish in the NACDA Cup (5th best among private universities and 28 spots ahead of Vanderbilt, whose situation in the SEC is similar to Baylor's in the Big 12) is remarkable for a school that was no more than an afterthought in the discussions earlier this year about conference realignment.
In light of the overall athletic excellence the NACDA Cup reflects, and the hay Baylor makes of it every year that we do well, it seems odd that the last two varsity sports Baylor has chosen to pursue are non-NACDA Cup sports: equestrian and competitive cheer.
Keep up the great work and keep pushing the envelope.
Keith A. Rowley
Las Vegas, Nevada
This was a special year for Baylor Athletics on many fronts. I was proud of the 31st place finish in the Learfield NACDA Director's Cup (2nd best ever at Baylor). Moreover, our student-athletes had their best semester in the classroom this spring with a 3.07 GPA.
We are very excited about the development of the Equestrian program as it has become nationally competitive very quickly and we believe that the sport will continue to grow and reach NCAA status. Moreover, we expect that Competitive Cheer will follow a similar growth trajectory based upon the extremely high levels of participation at the youth level, and also become a NCAA sport in the future.
My question has to do with the continuing updates at Floyd Casey Stadium. When will the current video screen be replaced with a newer, bigger, and better version or, possibly, a second screen added to the opposite end of the stadium to complement the current one?
I appreciate your question. This summer we have installed new synthetic turf, expanded and upgraded the tailgating area, completed some restroom renovations, along with painting and other maintenance at Floyd Casey Stadium. We have developed a preliminary master plan of additional improvements that may be made to the Stadium.
However, before making a significant additional investment at Floyd Casey Stadium, we want to vet the question of where Baylor football will be played long-term? Once that question is answered, we will be able to proceed with an appropriate plan of action.
Does the judge's ruling about competitive cheerleading not being a sport and therefore not meeting gender equity rules affect Baylor at all?
Thank you for the question. You are referring to a recent decision handed down by a District Judge in Connecticut regarding a case involving volleyball student-athletes at Quinnipiac University and whether competitive cheer was considered a sport that counted towards Title IX compliance in that circumstance.
Baylor has implemented its competitive cheer program in a manner consistent with Title IX guidelines and in consultation with the Office for Civil Rights and a Title IX consultant. With that, we are confident that our program will meet this standard once it begins this fall.
As you would expect, Baylor is outside of the District where this ruling was handed down.
There must be a way to fill both end zones with local and regional potential fans. Will you give some thought to some ideas to bring in military, school and church groups?
John A. Carnett
We are very encouraged by the response of Baylor Nation to the 2010 football program. We anticipate a very large crowd for the Sam Houston game due to strong season ticket sales, excellent response from the students and a partnership with the United Way that will allow many non-traditional fans to attend the game.
We do have plans to encourage large groups to join us for games later in the season that we believe will significantly increase our home attendance. However, we need everyone in Baylor Nation to "Rise Up" and make a commitment to "Fill the Stands" six times this fall in Waco and once at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas!
There has never been a better or more important time to support Baylor football.