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Fall Sports Are Underway
4:45 P.M. FRIDAY, Sept. 17, 2010
Hello Baylor Family,

This is a special week at Baylor as we prepare for the Inauguration of Baylor University's 14th President, Judge Ken Starr. President Starr has been a tremendous advocate for Baylor Athletics and has already made a dramatic impact on the athletics program through his leadership with the Big 12 and Fill the Stands efforts that have been instrumental in Baylor Nation rising up for the first two home football games.

The fall sports teams are off to a strong start with football winning its first two games, soccer at 5-1-1, volleyball enjoying a four-match win streak heading into conference play and the cross country teams having impressive results in their opening meets. As I have mentioned previously, our athletics teams are positioned for a great year in 2010-11 and the early returns have been very encouraging.

We have been spending a considerable amount of time recently working on issues related to the Big 12 conference and football schedules. The departure arrangements regarding Nebraska and Colorado are still being worked out, and most notably, it remains unclear whether Colorado will depart the Big 12 in 2011 or 2012. With that, we are making contingency plans for both scenarios and have begun to develop nine-game conference football schedules beginning in 2011. In turn, we will need to make a number of adjustments to Baylor's non-conference schedules as it will be reduced from four to three games effective in 2011. This is a very significant task since football games are frequently set 8 to 10 years in advance.

There are several new facility improvements that are coming on-line in the coming weeks that will enhance Baylor Athletics. The Getterman Softball Practice Facility is nearing completion and will be dedicated on October 7. This project will make college athletics' finest softball facility even better and provide our student-athletes with a first-class place to practice.

In addition, a new center-hung videoboard will be installed in the Ferrell Center next month. This board will be a tremendous asset for recruiting, fan engagement and help us create the Big 12's best homecourt advantage.

Finally, 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.

We have received several Ask Ian questions in the past few weeks.

Dear Mr. McCaw,

I am a minister in a small church that had the pleasure of attending the Baylor vs. Sam Houston State game. I was BLOWN AWAY at the atmosphere in, and surrounding this event. The fans were awesome, the students were interactive, and the game was fantastic! (this was of course because we fully expected a Baylor win!!!)

In a day and age where there are so many negative things for our youth to be involved in (especially on Sat. evenings) I'm glad that we had the chance to come and support the Baylor football team.

Harvey Stewart Jr.
Crockett, Texas

Pastor Harvey,

Thank you for Rising Up and helping us `Fill that Stands' for the Sam Houston game. It was a great night for the Baylor Bears and I am delighted that you and your church group enjoyed the game. Our marketing staff did a great job of including a number of groups at this game and we look forward to having you come to another game in the future.

Ian


Ian,

Not really a question, more of a comment and plea. The crowd was absolutely amazing on Saturday vs. SHSU. I did not think we could get that kind of turn out for an FCS opponent. I think a large part of it was because of you and President Starr constantly telling Baylor Nation to Rise Up and get there to watch the bears.

PLEASE DO NOT STOP THIS. Continue to hammer it home every day, every interview, every event. The Baylor Nation has been jolted to life because of your excellent work so please continue that work!

Thomas Bailey
Katy, Texas

Thomas,

Amen!

President Starr has provided great leadership in rallying Baylor Nation to support the football program and `Fill the Stands'. Moreover, he has been persistent in sharing this message as have so many throughout the Baylor family. We were pleased to have the best opening two-game attendance mark since 1975 which was the year following the Southwest Conference championship.

Continued fan support like we had for these two games, will carry the Bears to a bowl game and beyond!

Ian


Ian,

Hats off to you and your staff for doing such great work! You are an excellent administrator and I know Baylor Athletics has a bright future with you at the helm.

My question is regarding basketball scheduling. After a tremendous year last year, to be quite honest, the non-conference schedule is very disappointing. I understand the competitiveness of the Big 12, but it is also important to note other top programs in competitive conferences that schedule many challenging opponents. With the exception of the tournament in Hawaii, we have one top program (Gonzaga) on the schedule.

A schedule like this makes it very tough to fill the seats in November and December. I hope that Coach Drew will continue to increase the level of competition on our non-conference schedule in the future.

Tom Jones
Waco, Texas

Tom,

Thank you for the kind comments and question. With the tremendous success of the Baylor men's basketball team including reaching the Elite 8 last season, scheduling has become more challenging.

Understandably, most coaches are reluctant to schedule too many top opponents in the non-conference schedule when they will then face a BCS conference schedule. Moreover, playing top competition on the road is even less appealing. With that, Baylor's 2010-11 non-conference schedule features a number of top quality opponents, however, many of these games are at neutral sites. This year's Baylor team will be very entertaining to watch and season ticket sales have increased significantly as a result.

Ian


Ian,

I read rumors that they live bears can no longer be on leash which means they will no longer be at the football games, parade or I guess out of their cages at all. Is this true? If it is, how is it that other schools i.e. UT and Colorado get away with having their mascots at games and on a leash?

I remember as a kid getting to see the Bears was a highlight of going to the games and I'm sure lots of kids today feel the same way. It would be sad for them not to be able to have the same experience. I really wish we would not give into these left wing animal rights groups. Thanks for all you do!

Bill Hollis
Austin, Texas

Bill,

This rumor is a fact. The USDA has informed the University that the Bears are not permitted to be leashed at games and it will be necessary for a Bear Habitat to be constructed at Floyd Casey Stadium to accommodate them properly.

With that, Student Life, Design and Construction Services and athletics staff are working together to develop a plan that will meet with USDA requirements and allow the Bears to return to Floyd Casey Stadium for football games in 2011.

Ian


Ian;

I see actual photos of all the other sports construction projects going on. As a women's basketball season ticket holder, I was hoping to see the progress of the new scoreboard going up at the Ferrell center.

Kenneth Cannon

Kenneth,

Thank you for the e-mail and comments. We use photos and web cams to show the progress of a number of construction projects. Unfortunately, there isn't anything on campus to see relative to the new, center-hung videoboard in the Ferrell Center since it is being manufactured off-site and will not arrive for installation until October. Our staff will be certain to post photographs once this new videoboard arrives.

Ian


Ian,

It looks like Colorado is planning to play in the Big 12 in 2011. Will the conference be able to put together an 11-team round robin football schedule for that year?

Bobby Strother
Lewisville, Texas

Bobby,

The Big 12 is in the process of producing a nine-game, 10-team schedule and a nine-game, 11-team schedule for the 2011 football season. We are looking forward to having resolution of the Colorado situation, one way or the other, so that we can set our conference schedule and select dates for Homecoming and Parents' Weekend.

Ian

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