Baylor's Commitment to Championship Athletics
WACO, Texas (July 27, 2021) – The following update was sent to the Baylor University Family today from Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
July 27, 2021
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.
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
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 19,000 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.