Baylor President Linda Livingstone releases statement on Big 12

July 27, 2021
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WACO, Texas (July 27, 2021) – The following update was sent to the Baylor University Family today from Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.


Dear Baylor Family:

We are in the midst of significant change in intercollegiate athletics, with forces beyond our control destabilizing so many facets of this important part of the higher education experience. This period of uncertainty has been ongoing for many months, but was intensely magnified yesterday as the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma regrettably informed the Big 12 Conference that the schools will not extend their media rights past 2025, which is when the league's current television contracts end. And then today, Texas and Oklahoma formally requested membership in the Southeastern Conference.

As a founding member of the Big 12, you can be assured that Baylor is committed to competing at the highest levels of intercollegiate athletics and maintaining our position as one of the most successful athletics departments in the country. Through the Big 12's first 25 years, Baylor has won 87 conference championships second-most in the league and is coming off recent national championships in men's and women's basketball and acrobatics and tumbling, a finals appearance in men's tennis, a volleyball Final Four, and a 2020 appearance in the Sugar Bowl.

A strong Big 12 is beneficial for the state of Texas, as the state benefits economically and reputationally from maximizing the number of schools it has playing in Power 5 conferences. The same holds true for the city of Waco, when members of the Big 12 come to our hometown for conference play.

For our University, athletics is indelibly woven into the fabric of the overall Baylor experience just look at the sea of green and gold that floods our campus on football gamedays in the fall and fills the Ferrell Center during basketball season. In fact, prospective students tell us the reason they come to Baylor is our unique combination of a Christian environment, academic excellence, a mid-sized campus, and big-time athletics.

Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Mack B. Rhoades IV and I have been on the phone and in meetings non-stop since last Wednesday, when news of the potential departures of Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 initially came to light. We, along with the leadership of our Board of Regents and many others, are working actively and tirelessly to put our athletics programs and University in the best possible position now and into the future.

As we mentioned on Friday, the Baylor brand is incredibly strong and we have a compelling story to tell about our unique institution. We appreciate the ongoing support and investments of the Baylor Family in both academics and athletics that have helped elevate our Christian mission and place the University in a positive place for times such as this.

Much speculation abounds and the current situation is extremely fluid. Please know we will proceed strategically and deliberately over the next several days and in the weeks ahead in the best interests of Baylor and our 176 years of dedication to the state of Texas.

Sincerely,

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
President

Discussion from...

Baylor President Linda Livingstone releases statement on Big 12

62,856 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by RThompson
SJ8999
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Excellent closing. Grateful to have Mack and Linda on this.
Branch155
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This is one of those times I'm happy to have a university president that's a former D-1 athlete.
65bear
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Everything I am about to say here is my own opinion drawn from my observations and my experience over the past 73 years following Baylor football, track and other Baylor sports:

1. I remember Texas football in Texas University glory years when Darrell Royal was HC and AD. In those days Texas could give out more scholarships than Baylor and other private schools. They would use that to there advantage to recruit players that they knew would sit on the bench, not being developed, so that they would not have to compete against them at other schools in the SWC.
2. From the mid 1950's on, Texas has been the most agressive team in the State when it comes to taking advantage of every opportunity, including using leveraging their financial resources to assure themselves their number 1 position in the State as a Football and Track powerhouse. They have even used the media to talk Baylor down in particular with lots of disparaging remarks.
3. In 1963, when Baylor won their third Conference Track Championship in four years, and Texas was the favorite in all 4 conference meets, Texas knew what to do. About two weeks before the 1963 SWC Conference track meet to be held in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Darrell Royal hired Jack Patterson, Baylor's Head Track Coach to be the new Texas Head Track Coach and Assistant AD. So problem solved...for them, or so they thought. Royal would have to compate against Patterson indirectly because he came back to Baylor as AD in 1971. This was a time when Baylor had gone through several losing football seasons under two different HC's. Coach Patterson inititally hired Rudy Feldman from New Mexico who accepted the offer for 1 day before calling to turn it down. The general consensus of college sports fans was that a church school could NEVER compete against major State school or especially one of "blue blood" stature like Texas Although, it seemed like Patterson was in a desparate situation, he hired a Coach at Angelo State named Grant Teaff as Baylor's new Head Football Coach. History tells about the improvement that took place under him. He won two SWC Championships, beat Texas frequently under Darrell Royal, and won and competted in several bowl games, all with fewer quality athletes and much lesser facilities. The point I am trying to make here is that regardless of how bad a program has been, with the right coaching and the right kind of athletes, even when fewer in number or with lesser "stars" when recruited, can be very competitive and win Championships.
4. Baylor went through another 15 years of bad showings in Football unti Coach Briles came, a new stadium, track, tennis, and other facilities to compare with anyone were built, Championships in other sports and the continuation of beating Texas in all sports reguarly, and beating Oklahoma in other sports regularly. In addition, both schools have found themselves losing to TCU, Iowa State, Kansas State, and Texas even lost to Kansas recently. Oklahoma lost badly in a recent playoff bowl game, which was quite embarrassing to the Big 12 I can see why they would like to leave the Big 12 while they still have their reputations in place as "blue bloods". Texas has been a mediocre team at best since 2009 when they won their last National Championship and they lost one Big 12 Championship to Baylor in Floyd Casey Stadium under HC Mac Brown, the coach who won their last National Championsip and is winning again at North Carolina (a prospect for the Big 12). Wouldn't it look better for them to be in the SEC so they don't have to risk losing to Baylor, ISU, KSU,TCU, or Kansas? Wouldn't it look better on their resume to lose to LSU, Alabama, Auburn, or Georgia, especially when they are making more money and they are recruiting as being members of the SEC?
5. For all the other Big 12 teams to jump like rats leaving a sinking ship, and doing away with this Power 5 Conference in the State of Texas, is admitting that those two school are really the only teams in the Conference that are any good, so Baylor and all the other member run around begging other conferences to please let us in. This should be a golden opportunity for the remaining teams to ban together, keep the Conference in place, improve their teams, anchored with Texas native schools and look to the future with rising programs like SMU in a major market as an example, even if initially it is looked at as an impossible task. to let those two biggies who built themselves on the past, design our future for us,makes no sense to me
RThompson
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Great Points! I Agree!
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