Baylor > Lariat Archives > News

Sports' future in Lilley's hands

Nov. 8, 2005

by TIFFANIE BLACKMON, staff writer

Baylor's athletic programs have undergone significant highs and lows in the last few years. With the appointment of a new president and the imperatives set forth by Baylor 2012, erected under a former administration, where is the future of Baylor Athletics headed?

Imperative X under Baylor 2012 focuses on building "with integrity a winning athletic tradition in all sports." According to the plan, "Baylor will participate across the full spectrum of men's and women's athletics and will strive to be competitive in every athletic venue in which it participates."

University of Nevada, Reno, athletic director Cary Groth said incoming president Dr. John M. Lilley believes athletics are an important part of university life.

"He's an outstanding president who did some wonderful things for our athletics program and is very committed to the well being of the student and student athlete," Groth said.

Lilley was introduced as Baylor's next president on Saturday afternoon at the Bears' football game against The University of Texas.

"I had the chance to visit with him at the football game on Saturday and in talking with him, it was understood he places a high value on intercollegiate athletics and having success with academic performance and compliance," said Baylor Athletic Director Ian McCaw.

Lilley arrived at Baylor to take the first step in his walk as Baylor's newly appointed leader.

One of Lilley's most significant achievements at UNR was his appointment of a record number of women and people of color to central administration positions according to press releases distributed by UNR.

What impressed the Baylor athletic administration was his record of accomplishment with athletic programs at former institutions.

"President Lilley really understood the importance of successful athletics programs and all it can bring to a university," said Cindy Fox, associate athletic director at University of Nevada, Reno. "However, he really demands (achievement of) success with high ethical standards and being fiscally responsible."

At Penn State Erie, where Lilley was from 1980 to 2001, Lilley more than doubled the number of National Collegiate Athletics Association Division III athletic programs with Title IX compliance.

He also helped to found the Allegheny Mountain College Conference for athletics.

More recently, the Kennedy Index listed UNR's intercollegiate athletics programs as the best in the nation in providing opportunities for women in sports. Charles L. Kennedy, a senior political science instructor at Penn State-York developed the study in August. It is designed to rank schools based on their compliance with the spirit and intent of Title IX.

Implemented in 1972 as part of the Higher Education Act, Title IX requires equal access to education for women, which includes athletics. At that time, only about 32,000 women played on college teams and now an estimated 163,000 participate in varsity sports according to an article by Jodi Schneider published by US News.

Opportunities for women in collegiate level sports across the country are due, in part, to this act.

Title IX has allowed women's sports to become comparable in terms of facilities, opportunities available through scholarship and coaching staff positions to men's programs.

According to U.S. News & World Report, UNR ranked 48 out of 320 NCAA Division I schools in terms of gender equity. Of the 16 varsity sports employed by UNR, 51.5 percent of the athletes are female student-athletes, which is 3.6 percent less than the amount of female students at UNR.

Baylor, which has 17 varsity sports, ranked at 115 on that same list with 36.2 percent of athletes as females, 6.8 percent less than the total amount included in its student body.

U.S. News & World Report defined its measure of gender equity among college athletic programs as measuring "a school's progress in providing athletics opportunities for women, using data from the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA), which collects financial and statistical information on men's and women's athletics."

"He takes a great deal of pride in that statistic whether it entails providing opportunities for women in athletics or university administration," said Larry Brumley, Baylor spokesman and external vice president for university relations.

Increased opportunities for women in athletics have been seen as a high mark for Lilley who leaves UNR with a female athletic director and a female associate athletic director.

"He was equally supportive of both men's and women's athletic teams in his demands or ethics and success and a great friend to us for athletics," Fox said. "His leaving is a loss for us at UNR."

Baylor's athletic administration is hoping similar leadership will continue in Waco and align with the strides already taken by several of the university's athletic programs.

"We are looking forward to working with him here at Baylor," McCaw said. "People at UNR have had great things to say about him and we're excited about his arrival in January."