Baylor University Announces Plans for Running of the Baylor LineSept. 17, 2020
One of the great traditions in college football continues in its 50th season
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By Jonathan Hill, senior brand integration specialist, Baylor University Marketing & Communications
WACO, Texas (September 17, 2020) – Baylor University will launch the 50th anniversary season of the Baylor Line, one of the University’s most distinct traditions, with some unprecedented protocols and use of new bracelet technology in place to mitigate risks from COVID-19 to the campus and surrounding community.
Additionally, Baylor will randomly test 300 students in advance of the game as part of the University’s ongoing COVID-19 surveillance testing and monitoring program.
With the 2020 football season scheduled to kick off on Saturday, Sept. 19, the Line will continue its tradition of running across the field before each home football game. Although in previous years, the students have created a large human tunnel on the field where they waited to welcome the team, the Line will instead move directly to the designated student seating section to avoid the risk of extended close proximity. Seating within the Baylor Line section will be socially distanced and clearly marked for student use. As with all game attendees over age 10, facemasks will be required for students.
“We are grateful to continue one of the great traditions of Baylor University with the 50th anniversary of the Baylor Line. Adjusting our process in the midst of a pandemic requires some difficult changes in protocol, while keeping our students and the Baylor Family safe remains our top priority,” said Matt Burchett, director of student activities.
The Line will be limited to approximately 500 students and each student will be assigned a Bluetooth bracelet – limited exclusively to use during the game. The bracelets will register potential close contacts and allow Baylor’s contact tracing team to rapidly and efficiently assess the risk to others should a positive case of COVID-19 be confirmed among attendees following the game.
With Line students queuing up at the south end of McLane Stadium prior to each home game, social distancing remains a priority. In addition to collecting helpful contact data during the game, the bracelets also will notify students with an auditory beep if they are within 6 feet of another student for more than 15 minutes during the queuing process.
Data gathered from the bracelets will be used exclusively for Baylor’s internal contact tracing purposes, should the need arise, and will not be shared or stored outside of the University, protecting student privacy while adding an important safeguard for their health.
Along with the Baylor Line ticket allotment, more than 2,000 students have requested tickets to Saturday’s game, selling out the 25% student seating capacity spread across the Line section, general student seating and the berm. As part of the University’s ongoing COVID-19 mitigation efforts, 300 upper division students will be randomly selected for rapid testing prior to the game, with a negative result required to gain access to the stadium.
Established in 1970, the Baylor Line is composed entirely of first-year students and represents the commitment of Baylor fans everywhere to support and cheer on the Bears. As leaders of the Baylor spirit, all new students arrive early and stay until the singing of That Good Old Baylor Line. This great tradition is represented by the unmistakable gold jersey bearing the number of their graduation year and a nickname on the back.
After being founded as a spirit organization for first-year men, the Line expanded to welcome all first-year students in 1994. A ceremonial running of the Baylor line for more than 800 women who were freshmen from 1970-1994 took place in 2017.
“The Baylor Line has and will continue to evolve to serve our students in the best ways possible,” Burchett said. “While this will be a running of the Line unlike anything we’ve seen previously, our students will continue to carry the overwhelming support and spirit of the entire Baylor Family into McLane Stadium as we look forward to the next 50 years of this cherished tradition.”
A celebration for the 50th anniversary of the Baylor Line is set for the Oct. 31 matchup with TCU, with opportunities for alumni and fans to participate, both virtually and in-person. More details on festivities, commemorative merchandise and interactive events will be shared on social media and the Baylor website in the weeks leading up to the Oct. 31 game.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 18,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.