Wednesday, March 14, 2012
New Baylor stadium? Say 'Thanks, RG3'
By David Ubben
You hear it often when anyone talks about Baylor's Heisman winner, Robert Griffin III.
"It's hard to put into words just what he's meant to the university," they say.
Indeed, it's true.
But you can put it into dollars. Want some scope of what RG3 means to Baylor? Look no further than what Baylor hopes soon becomes "Baylor Stadium" a gorgeous riverside venue that will seat 45,000 and make the Bears' stadium a must-see venue in the Big 12 and really, the college football world.
If you weren't paying attention on Tuesday, here's a refresher:
Baylor has taken the next step in building a new on-campus stadium.
The school received the biggest gift in university history for Baylor's new on-campus football stadium alongside the Brazos River, according to a release on Tuesday.
Elizabeth and Drayton McLane Jr. gave the gift for an amount unspecified by the school, but it's the lead step toward the fundraising necessary for a new stadium that Baylor hopes will open for the 2014 season.
"We believe strongly in the university's distinct and important role as a Christian institution dedicated to academic excellence at the highest level," McLane said in the release.
The school released several additional artist renderings of the stadium along with the announcement.
Sure, RG3 has yet to pledge any dollars to the campaign, though that may change after he starts cashing advertising and NFL checks. Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh donated $2.6 million on his own before even signing his contract. (No pressure though, RG3.)
But make no mistake: Without Griffin, this stadium never comes close to happening.
Excitement around the program is at an all-time high. Coach Art Briles has a lot to do with that, too -- almost as much as Griffin.
But Griffin provided a legitimacy to the program that no coach could. He proved that Baylor could do big, big things, like win a Heisman Trophy.
That, and he proved the program could win 10 games in a top conference like the Big 12, something Baylor had never come close to doing before Griffin arrived.
He proved, more than anything, that Baylor was a program worth alumni money. If they pump it in, results are possible. Griffin proved it.
Future generations will reap the benefits if the new stadium becomes a reality.
So, if this all goes according to plan, and on some hot, sweaty September Saturday in Waco in 2014, you're wearing green and gold and walking along the Brazos River toward Baylor Stadium, be sure to take a moment and say, "Thanks, RG3."