11:50 A.M. FRIDAY, Oct. 29, 2010
Psalm 51:8 says, "let me hear joy and gladness." That sums up the response of Baylor Nation following the Bears' Homecoming victory over Kansas State that improves their record to 6-2 and makes the team bowl eligible for the first time since 1995. Moreover, we were humbled by the BCS, AP and Coaches Poll rankings that came out on Sunday and placed the Bears in the Top 25 nationally for the first time since 1995.
Coach Briles, his staff and our football student-athletes have worked exceedingly hard to reach this goal and I am proud of each one. We have been blessed with strong support from the Board of Regents, senior administration, faculty, staff, students and our wonderful alumni and friends. It takes the support of everyone to build a winning program and I am grateful to all of Baylor Nation for its support.
Baylor will play away games that will be nationally televised games on FSN the next two weeks (at Texas on Oct. 30 at 6:00; at Oklahoma State on Nov. 6 at 11:30) before returning to Floyd Casey Stadium for its final two home games against Texas A&M and Oklahoma. Plenty of good seats remain for both games and we need Baylor Nation to rise up and purchase these tickets in order to create the best home field advantage possible for our team. Tickets are available on-line at BaylorBears.com or by calling the ticket office at 254-710-1000.
We are grateful for the wonderful interest and support from our season ticket base in both men's and women's basketball. Men's season tickets have increased to a record level with growth of more than 20 percent from a year ago. The Lady Bears have hit another record season ticket total as well. Fans are looking forward to exciting action in the Ferrell Center this year with the Bears ranked #14 pre-season and the Lady Bears #2.
If you have not already made it to the Ferrell Center for a volleyball match or another event, you will be very impressed with the new center-hung video board, ribbon boards and vomitory signage. These amenities will be a tremendous asset for recruiting, fan engagement and help us create the Big 12's best home court advantage.
We have recently completed two other important facility projects. The Getterman Softball Practice Facility was dedicated Oct. 7 and will provide Baylor softball with a spectacular new facility that further enhances the nation's finest complex. The renovation to Marrs McLean Gym to accommodate Baylor's 19th intercollegiate team, Competitive Cheer, is complete. There is new office space, an expanded training room and a new locker room for this first-year program. In addition, the volleyball locker room has been enhanced as part of the project.
This is an important time of the year for fundraising as well. The Bear Foundation is on pace for another record year and we are hopeful to close some important gifts in the coming days that will allow us to advance some capital projects for Baylor Athletics.
We have received several Ask Ian questions in the past few weeks.
With the resolution of the exit of Colorado and Nebraska in 2011, what will our non-conference football schedule look like next year? Will we still play the four non conference games that are scheduled? That would lead to a 13 game schedule which, I believe, is prohibited.
The same question for 2012.
Thank you for the e-mail and question. We are grateful to the Big 12 leadership and Judge Starr for successfully resolving the terms of departure for Nebraska and Colorado in order to enable the conference to move to a nine-game, 10-team football schedule beginning in 2011. With that, we have been working with our future non-conference opponents to make adjustments to change from four to three games each season.
As you point out, only 12 regular season contests are permitted. Therefore, in 2011, Baylor will host TCU, Stephen F. Austin and Rice in non-conference play. We are still working on the subsequent years, but making good progress toward completing these schedules.
What can be done to curtail the high amount of students that have been leaving games early shortly after halftime? The attendance has been good but the east stands look so bad when it seems like approximately 80% of the students leave early in the second half.
Editor's Note: Similar questions were received by Jared C. Johnson (Katy, Texas) and Ann Ferrell (Arlington, Texas)
Thank you for your question and concern about student attendance. Our marketing staff has been working closely with Student Life, Student Government and various other student groups to encourage student attendance. We have had unprecedented support from Judge Starr on down, and that has made a huge difference in these efforts. Our student attendance numbers are up and more students are staying until the end of the game. There has been improved transportation and tailgating for students as well, and unlike previous years, we are not offering transportation back to campus until the end of the game.
I was very pleased with the student crowd, which was the largest of the season, and overall attendance at the Kansas State game. In fact, I have never heard Floyd Casey Stadium's fans louder than they were on Saturday. Keep up the strong support!
My family and I are really enjoying our football season tickets this year and in addition to the home games we've been to the Rice and Tech games as well. My question is regarding our live bear mascots no longer being at the games?
I've heard they are not going to be allowed there until some kind of permanent structure is built for them but yet I see other schools with live animal mascots at their games (UT/Bevo, Tech/horse, Colorado/buffalo)? Why are we being treated differently?
Thanks for the e-mail and you raise an excellent question. The answer that I have been given is that bears fall under a different federal government category that is more restrictive than the other live mascots you have referenced.
Our staff has been working with other campus leaders to develop plans for a Bear Habitat at Floyd Casey Stadium in 2011. We have identified a couple of alternative locations and will be exploring these options along with gathering cost information. If anyone is interested in financially supporting this project, we would be glad to hear from you.
I love Art Briles and want to thank you for bringing him to Baylor. You had a vision that turned around BU football. My question is what bowl games might we play in.
Thank you for the kind e-mail and comments. Coach Briles has done an incredible job leading the Baylor football program over the past three years. I am grateful that he had such a strong desire to come to Baylor at a time when our program was struggling, and the faith, focus and commitment to get the job done.
Big 12 teams have either four or five game remaining so there is a lot to sort out in terms of the bowl picture. The Big 12 has seven bowl tie-ins in addition to the BCS which may include one or two teams. There is more detailed information on the Big 12 website.
Since the day you came to Baylor, I have had confidence in the decisions being made and am thankful for all that you have accomplished. Recently, we have had a couple of people make missteps. What are some of the things that the athletics department takes to make sure Baylor athletes do right?
Thank you for the e-mail. We are blessed to have tremendous leadership from the Board and senior administration along with a very strong staff in the athletics department. When difficult decisions need to be made, we have a number of wise advisors to provide insight.
Baylor student-athletes have done a wonderful job of representing the University over the years. Certainly, it begins with attracting student-athletes from great families who share Baylor's Christian mission and values.
Beyond that, our coaches do a terrific job working with young people and making a significant impact on their lives. In addition, our staff does a great deal of work with student-athletes through our Life Skills program, community service, Leadership Academy and guest speaker series. Finally, our sports chaplaincy program ensures that student-athletes receive spiritual guidance and encouragement that is vitally important.
Baylor Bears are bowl bound ... woo hoo! I am pumped, pumped I tell ya! Let's win the rest of 'em.
I have seen a lot more shirts and stuff in the stores in the last few months.
Thanks for getting this done.
We are all very excited about the Baylor Bears becoming bowl eligible and plan on continued success the rest of the way. I want to commend Nick Joos for all of his hard work in the Licensing area. We retained LRG based in North Carolina to assist us in this initiative and are enjoying record royalty payments and merchandise sales. In fact our last quarter is the best in school history. Baylor fans can expect to see a continued expansion of apparel in the marketplace and it will make great Christmas presents for your loved ones.