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WACO, Texas (July 27, 2021) – The following update was sent to the Baylor University family today by Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
July 27, 2021
Dear Baylor family:
We are in the midst of a significant shift 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 going on for many months, but was intensely magnified yesterday as the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma sadly informed the Big 12 Conference that schools would not extend their media rights to the – beyond 2025, when the current league television contracts end. And then today, Texas and Oklahoma officially applied for 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 inter-varsity athletics and maintaining our position as one of the most successful athletics departments in the country. In the Big 12’s first 25 years, Baylor won 87 conference championships – the second-largest in the league – and recently won recent national championships in men’s and women’s basketball, acrobatics and tumbling, a appearance in the men’s tennis final, a volleyball Final Four, and a 2020 appearance in the Sugar Bowl.
A strong Big 12 is beneficial to the state of Texas, as the state benefits economically and in terms of reputation from maximizing the number of schools participating in Power 5 conferences. The same is true for the city of Waco, when Big 12 members come to our hometown to play in conference.
For our university, athleticism is indelible in the fabric of the overall Baylor experience – just watch the sea of green and gold that floods our campus on fall football game days and fills the Ferrell. Center during the basketball season. In fact, prospective students tell us that the reason they come to Baylor is our unique combination of a Christian environment, academic excellence, a mid-sized campus, and massive athleticism.
Intercollegiate Athletics Vice President and Director Mack B. Rhoades IV and I have been on the phone and in meeting nonstop since last Wednesday, when news of potential Texas and Oklahoma departures from the Big 12 has been revealed. We, along with the leaders of our Board of Directors and many others, are actively and tirelessly working to put our athletic programs and our university in the best possible position, now and in 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 Baylor Family’s continued support and investments in studies and athletics which have helped elevate our Christian mission and place the University in a positive place for times like this.
Speculation abounds and the current situation is extremely fluid. Please know that we will proceed strategically and deliberately over the next few days and weeks to come 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 nationally classified research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community to over 19,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Established in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and over 90 countries to study a wide range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
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