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Baylor needs on-campus practice facility to draw recruits

Nov. 17, 2006


In the four years before head Coach Guy Morriss arrived, the Baylor football program was on life support. After four more years of hard work, the Bears have nearly recovered.

Somehow, Morriss has brought our team back to respectability. He's done his part. Now it's time for our fans to do their part.

This probably isn't the best time to write about how our football team needs an on-campus practice facility, but it's something that needs to be addressed.

Yes, we're coming off two embarrassing losses. Yes, we're about to miss out on a bowl game for the 12th consecutive season. But instead of looking at all of the things we're not, it's time to look at what we can be.

Morriss has been begging for a new facility for years. The lack of an on-campus facility is more than just a bump in the recruiting road -- it's a roadblock.

Every other Big 12 football team practices on campus. Our players have to commute to Floyd Casey Stadium every day during football season and well into the spring. That may not sound like much to Baylor students, but then again, most Baylor students have vehicles of their own.

Some say we'll build Morriss his facility when he starts producing a winner. That's like saying we'll supply our soldiers after they win the war. We can't expect results without providing the necessary resources.

Morriss has said facilities are the biggest factor when it comes to recruiting. To build a winning program, our coaches need to be able to recruit better athletes. It's nothing against our current players, but the gap in talent between Baylor and Texas or Texas A&M is huge. The simple fact that we can compete with the Aggies is a testament to our players' desire and Morriss' coaching.

Imagine walking into a recruit's home and being asked, "How will my son get to practice every day?" Sure, we can assume he'll get a ride, but when another school comes in and says he can walk five minutes to practice, it has an advantage.

Our coaches have enough obstacles to overcome in recruiting, including the fact that our stadium is 56 years old. The least we can do as fans is to turn a glaring weakness into a strength. A new facility would do exactly that.

Some are probably thinking that there are a lot better ways for Baylor to spend $14 million. While that seems like a valid argument on the surface, consider that football generates more revenue than any other athletic program at Baylor, some of which goes to support other athletic programs that aren't self-sufficient. It's in Baylor's best interest to have a competitive football program.

In four seasons under Morriss, the Bears have gone from a national laughingstock to a team that's capable of pulling off some upsets.

We've won five Big 12 games in the last two years. That's a huge improvement over the six conference games we won in the previous nine years.

But, there's still work that needs to be done. We shouldn't be happy just being competitive in most games, but we can't sit by and demand more from Morriss without offering our help.

Sure, we can point to the last two games as a reason not to build a new facility. But we're not going to find the solutions without addressing the problems.

Recruiting is a problem, and it's only going to get better when we have more to offer prospective athletes.

Baylor football can be more. If we offer our support, both physically and financially, Morriss is going to be the coach who takes us there. Our fans will be the ones to decide whether it takes a year or a decade.

David Kaye is a junior journalism major from Katy.