Big 12: Ian McCaw

How the Baylor Bears were built

February, 16, 2015
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The Baylor Bears are amidst one of the great program turnarounds in college football history. After two decades of complete futility, the Bears were on the cusp of qualifying for the inaugural College Football Playoff last season. They joined Oklahoma as the only other program to capture back-to-back Big 12 titles. And with 17 starters returning, they'll be gunning for a third in 2015.

How have they done it?

Here's a look at how exactly Baylor became a powerhouse (also, coming Tuesday -- how TCU turned into a powerhouse):

[+] EnlargeArt Briles
AP Photo/Eric GayHow did Baylor emerge as one of the country's top football programs? Look no further than Art Briles.
1. Tapping Art Briles as coach

It seems crazy now, but Briles wasn't the automatic choice after Guy Morriss was fired in 2007. Many boosters clamored for athletic director Ian McCaw to hire former Baylor great Mike Singletary, who was coaching linebackers for the 49ers at the time.

McCaw, however, was intrigued with the revival jobs Briles had produced at Stephenville High School and at Houston. Briles also knew his way around Texas high school football like no one McCaw had ever met.

McCaw had the foresight to recognize that Briles' offensive ingenuity and recruiting connections would make him the perfect fit in Waco.

2. Signing RG III

By snagging Briles, Baylor also snagged Robert Griffin III, who had been committed to Briles at Houston. Coming out of high school, Griffin was viewed as a track star who could also play a little bit of football. But he became the transformational quarterback for Baylor in the same way Johnny Manziel more recently was for Texas A&M.

With RG III behind center, the Bears went from conference doormat to bowl qualifier.

As Briles has noted, RG III's success, both in college and initially in the NFL also gave Baylor "instant name recognition" with recruits who previously wouldn't have given the Bears a second thought.

The hiring of Briles and signing of RG III were the first two building blocks in Baylor's resurrection.

3. Surviving realignment

Conference realignment, however, nearly derailed Baylor's resurgence before it began. Had Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State bolted for the Pac-10, Baylor would have been left to find a new league, which would have severely damaged the football program.

Texas politics saved the Big 12 during the first round of realignment. During the second wave, Baylor reportedly threatened legal action as Texas A&M mulled its move to the SEC. Many called Baylor petulant at the time. But its proactive stance helped cultivate a sense of Big 12 unity among the remaining committed members, which ultimately helped preserve the league. And in turn, Baylor's standing in a major conference.

4. Building McLane Stadium

On the heels of RG III's magical Heisman-winning season in 2011, Baylor didn't rest on its laurels. Instead, it was able to capitalize on the momentum and secure funding for a new $264 million stadium.

The "Jewel on the Brazos" has given Baylor a home-field advantage and season-ticket base it never enjoyed at Floyd Casey. And, it has elevated Baylor to another level in the eyes of would-be recruits.

5. Nailing WR evaluations

In just the past five years, Baylor has been able to lay claim as Wide Receiver U., thanks to successful evaluations on receiving prospects, both high profile and under the radar. Future All-American Kendall Wright was part of Briles' first recruiting class, and was one of the high profile prospects. But in the same class, Baylor also landed two-star Terrance Williams, who would finish with 1,800 receiving yards in 2012. The following year, Baylor found another lightly recruited receiver in Tevin Reese, who also developed into a 1,000-yard wideout. Those early triumphs set the foundation and turned Baylor into an attractive destination for blue-chip receivers such as Corey Coleman and KD Cannon.

6. Finding other hidden gems

Baylor has made hay unearthing other diamonds in the rough that would become all-conference performers. Linebacker Eddie Lackey's only other offers out of junior college were from Hawaii and New Mexico State. Fellow linebacker Bryce Hager was down to Baylor and Air Force. Running back Shock Linwood's full offer list was Arkansas State, North Texas, UTSA and TCU. Linebacker Taylor Young's only other visit was to Louisiana Monroe. All four have become home run signings. Lackey received votes for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2013; Hager was a three-time second-team All-Big 12 selection. And this past season, Linwood was All-Big 12, while Young was the AP's Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year.

7. Hiring defensive coordinator Phil Bennett

After the 2010 season, the Bears added Bennett, who brought credibility to the other side of the ball. Bennett's tent of forcing turnovers and three-and-outs have been a perfect mesh with Briles' high-octane offenses. The last two years, Bennett's units have also ranked in the top four of the Big 12 in total defense, transforming Baylor from a program with merely an exciting offense to one capable of competing for conference titles.

[+] EnlargeBryce Petty
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesThanks to QB Bryce Petty and his 29 touchdowns in 2014, the Bears finished 11-2 and 8-1 in the Big 12.
8. Bringing Lache Seastrunk back home

When the former ESPN 300 Temple, Texas, running back washed out at Oregon following a controversial recruitment, Baylor was able to funnel him to Waco. Seastrunk fueled Baylor's torrid finish in 2012, which set the stage for the Bears' Big 12 title run the following year during which he led the conference in rushing.

9. Jazzing up the uniforms

A big part of Baylor's emergence has been the establishment of an identity. That cutting edge persona has been enhanced with its brazen uniform combinations. Uniforms haven't won games. But they have contributed to Baylor's distinctiveness as the modern alternative for recruits to traditional powers like Texas and Oklahoma.

10. Developing quarterbacks

RG III has been gone from Baylor four years now. But the Bears have still maintained a level of quarterbacking excellence. Nick Florence led the league in passing in 2012, and Bryce Petty led it in 2013 and 2014. Both Florence and Petty had years in the system before becoming full-time starters, which allowed for such seamless transitions. Like them, the next heir apparent, Seth Russell, will be entering his fourth year on campus.

Big 12 now must fix its plan, not playoff

December, 8, 2014
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WACO, Texas -- The Big 12’s power brokers will all be in the same room Monday. Bob Bowlsby and the league’s athletic directors meet in New York.

The hangover of a brutally embarrassing weekend for the Big 12 should’ve worn off by the time they assemble. The worst-case scenario we should’ve seen coming came true. What are the league’s leaders going to do about it?

The national sympathy for Baylor and TCU has an expiration date. It’s probably Monday. The college football world will move on. The boos emanating from the Lone Star State won’t register. Why? Because, despite it all, we did get one hell of a College Football Playoff.

Outside Big 12 country, they aren’t calling this inaugural bracket a travesty or tragedy. The public has every right to be happy with Alabama vs. Ohio State and Oregon vs. Florida State. The committee delivered a compelling playoff.

Had Ohio State and TCU been left out, Sunday might’ve been consumed by the rage of two conferences, the Big 12 and Big Ten aligning in anger to demand a better way. Makes you wonder if the committee realizes how safe an outcome it selected.

Meanwhile, Baylor AD Ian McCaw’s intentions are clear. He’s ready to begin discussing an expanded playoff model.

“I’m a big eight-team playoff guy,” McCaw told ESPN.com on Saturday night, “and I think tonight and this process may underscore it’s not realistic to pick four teams. It’s just not realistic.”

It’s his job to protect his program’s interests. But chasing an eight-team playoff is not going to get the job done. Not right now.

Baylor and TCU can legitimately claim they had as good a shot at winning it all as Ohio State. A Bama blowout of the Buckeyes would reheat those talking points, no question. But these Big 12 rivals have a problem: Who exactly is begging and pleading to add the next two teams, Mississippi State and Michigan State, to this year’s mix?

An eight-team affair, while great for TV and money and morale, is the Big 12’s red herring for now.

If we go down that road, does it end in sweeping support and a majority vote from the Power 5? What’s going to compel that majority to even take the vote? This season’s playoff won’t.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said it best Friday: “I don’t think there will be a lot of tolerance for sour grapes.” There won’t be any for the Big 12, that much is certain.

This was a botched plan from the start, a failure set in motion well before the “One True Champion” slogan was even concocted.

The Big 12 anticipated having the upper hand with its nine-game conference slate and title game-free playoff path. The Big 12 did not anticipate having two 11-win teams, nor the significant benefit of that 13th game. The league wasn’t prepared or proactive during this season of uncertainty. Bowlsby isn’t the only one culpable for the mess. So are the ADs he’ll face Monday.

They all better point the thumb. The Big 12 came up broke. That doesn’t mean the system is broken.

The truth is, the Big 12 can focus only on fixing the Big 12. McCaw must confront the front end of Baylor’s schedule and change his tune on nonconference scheduling. TCU AD Chris Del Conte ought to fight for fixing the back end. Having to face last-place Iowa State on championship week damaged the Frogs' plans. Together, they should fight for a rewrite of the tiebreaker rules.

Muddying the waters (to steal a Brilesism) with unfit options to expand to 12 teams isn't a well thought-out answer, but it'll be a reluctant topic of discussion again. A fight to stay at 10 and gain a waiver for a conference title game will get talked up, too, now that the committee has expressed its preferences. Again, not the instant solution you might think.

All these options are on the table starting Monday. As Bowlsby has confessed, it’s time to do some real rethinking. The committee made its statement: The Big 12 is taking the wrong route to the playoff.

Good luck convincing peers to follow along to a new eight-team destination. No matter how much sense it might make, one year in, it feels too far away. And there’s too much the Big 12 can fix in the meantime.
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FORT WORTH and WACO, Texas -- This is what happens when a league becomes trapped by a slogan.

You get Baylor coach Art Briles, who should be enjoying a second consecutive championship, dressing down commissioner Bob Bowlsby on a podium in front of 47,934 fans who agree with the coach. You get lines such as, "The real champs, Bowlsby!" and " Have pride in your conference, Bowlsby!" You get chants such as "One true champ!" and "Head-to-head!" You get Bowlsby shuttled through an angry crowd on his way off the McLane Stadium field.

You get Baylor wide receiver Clay Fuller saying the Big 12 title is "a little clouded right now" by the team's College Football Playoff uncertainty and the Big 12's unwillingness to fully back the Bears in their pursuit.

[+] EnlargeTCU Horned Frogs
Brandon Wade/Associated PressThe mood was festive in Fort Worth, as TCU was more than happy to be crowned a Big 12 co-champion.
"The Big 12 didn't help us," Fuller told ESPN.com after Baylor's 38-27 win against No. 9 Kansas State. "They wanted to make sure one person got in, and I think it's messing them up now. The commercial says, 'One true champion.' They play that a lot."

What's a recent college football season without some Big 12 squabbling? There was plenty at Baylor after Bowlsby declared earlier in this week that the Big 12 wouldn't designate one champion to the playoff selection committee, in accordance with its bylaws.

The league instead will present Baylor and TCU as equals, even though both played the same schedules and Baylor beat TCU 61-58 on Oct. 11. One true champion? More like one true conundrum.

Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw said that though the Big 12 bylaws recognize co-champions, tiebreakers are in place, and the team winning the tiebreaker would advance as the league's representative. McCaw "disagreed" with Bowlsby's "position" to present co-champions, though Bowlsby said he's simply following the bylaws as they pertain to the playoff.

"If you have a slogan and say there's one true champion, all of a sudden, you're going to go out the back door instead of going out the front," Briles said. "Don't say one thing and do another. That's my whole deal. If they said from the get-go, 'We've got co-champs. Head-to-head doesn't matter,' I'm OK with it. But don't say one thing and do another."

The optimist sees the Big 12 having two teams in the playoff mix. But with No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Oregon and No. 4 Florida State winning this weekend, the Big 12 likely is competing for one remaining spot. It faces a formidable challenge from No. 5 Ohio State, which pummeled Wisconsin 59-0 in the Big Ten championship game and has no complexities about what it is and what it represents.

The Big 12 has two fabulous candidates in No. 6 Baylor and No. 3 TCU, teams led by great coaches and great quarterbacks (Baylor's Bryce Petty and TCU's Trevone Boykin combined for 872 pass yards and five touchdowns Saturday).

[+] EnlargeArt Briles, Bob Bowlsby, Baylor Bears
Tony Gutierrez/Associated PressMeanwhile, the awarding of the Big 12 co-championship in Waco was a bit more testy.
But could the league's reluctance to fully back one team hurt in the debate against Ohio State?

"That could be a factor," McCaw said. "The thing that's going to be interesting, if you look at the strength of the Big 12 Conference overall, being one or two [among conferences], the champion of that conference should carry a lot of weight."

Briles referenced the Big 12's strength in his stump speech Saturday. The coach had previously been relatively quiet about politicking, but Petty said Briles told the players, "give me some ammunition" at a recent meeting.

So Briles came out with guns blazing.

He mentioned Baylor's wins against a top 5 team (TCU) and a top 10 team (Kansas State). He mentioned how Baylor played only six true home games, while the other playoff candidates played seven.

"If [selection committee chair] Jeff Long's sitting there, and he asks, 'Who's representing the Big 12?' ... and [Bowlsby] says, 'We're sending Baylor. That's our representative,' they've got to look long and hard at that," Briles said. "Because they won one of the toughest leagues."

It was much tamer earlier in the day at Amon G. Carter Stadium, where TCU thrashed Iowa State 55-3. Bowlsby drew cheers from the crowd when he presented the Big 12 championship trophy.

Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson told reporters, "You're not going to put me on a pedestal" about his team's playoff chances and said the Horned Frogs would "act like a true champion, a co-champion."

And if they miss the playoff?

"I'd be sad for my kids and for this university," Patterson said. "They've done everything they could possibly do, and I don't believe we did anything today to hurt ourselves."

TCU running back Aaron Green was more direct when asked why his team should be one of the top four.

"Because we're the best," Green said. "That's why."

Well, that settles it. Both TCU and Baylor made strong closing arguments, even though the Frogs struggled to score early and Baylor couldn't shake Kansas State for much of the game.

Baylor's narrower home win against K-State 41-20 undoubtedly will be dissected, but the Bears still hold the head-to-head win -- a logical trump card, but perhaps not in this case. One team undoubtedly will be grumpy when the selections are announced at 12:45 p.m. ET Sunday. Maybe both.

"It'd be less painful [if Ohio State got in over both]," Fuller admitted. "I know you're rooting for the Big 12 to get in the playoff. Heck, it'd be worse if TCU got in. I don't understand that argument whatsoever. It doesn't make any sense to me."

It's rarely harmonious in the Big 12 -- a league that nearly dissolved twice in a 14-month span in 2010-11, which cost Bowlsby's predecessor, Dan Beebe, his job. There was the controversial division tiebreaker that cost Texas a national title shot in favor of Oklahoma in 2008.

Now, in an effort to remain neutral and, as Bowlsby says, to stick to its own rules, the Big 12 could be left out cold in the playoff.

"We just happen to be part of the Big 12, and we happen to be the champion two years in a row," Briles said. "So they need to be obligated to us because we're helping the Big 12's image in the nation."

What is that image after Saturday? Is it a league that merits a spot in the playoff over the Big Ten? Or is it a conundrum that might be better left out of the race entirely?

"The winner of the Big 12," Boykin said, "should have a decent chance of getting in."

If only it were that easy.

Baylor AD Ian McCaw defends scheduling

November, 5, 2014
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The College Football Playoff committee sent a message to Baylor last week. It did it again Tuesday, too.

The Bears debuted at No. 13 in the first-ever CFP rankings, six spots behind a TCU team they beat 61-58. Selection committee chair Jeff Long said what too many others were thinking: “They have not had a strong schedule.”

Baylor moved up to 12th this week, but its fan base seems no less outraged. Of the top 10 one-loss teams, BU is ninth in line -- and now a spot behind two-loss Ole Miss. The schedule? Still the issue.

[+] EnlargeArt Briles
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY SportsBuilding the football program into a consistent winner has made it tougher for Art Briles and Baylor to schedule more quality foes.
Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw is listening. While he defends Baylor’s current predicament, he's also keeping a close eye on the future and in particular the selection committee.

“The committee has an incredibly difficult task,” McCaw said. “I think weekends like this coming weekend will be great differentiators and we’ll see how things go in the end of the season. I know judging by the past couple years, the way things looks halfway or two-thirds of the way through the season aren’t the way they end up.”

Beating No. 15 Oklahoma in Norman on Saturday would go a long way for Baylor’s playoff résumé. So would beating No. 7 Kansas State in the season finale, a potential de facto conference title game. But will the Bears' soft nonconference slate end up proving costly in December?

The Big 12 title race is still wide open, but the fact K-State nearly beat Auburn and No. 6 TCU beat up a Minnesota team that’s now 6-2 has boosted their respective playoff profiles. In the eyes of the committee members, those nonconference tests matter.

Baylor, meanwhile, played SMU (currently 0-7), Northwestern State (4-5 in FCS) and at Buffalo (3-5) and continues to get maligned for doing so. McCaw takes issue with the perception Baylor’s schedule was too easy.

“You have to look at the entire schedule,” he said. “The SEC schools, for example, have some of their weaker nonconference opponents late in the season. If you look at their entire nonconference schedule, the teams look very similar to some of the teams we’ve played.”

He has a point. This week, Mississippi State and Ole Miss take on Tennessee-Martin and Presbyterian, respectively. Alabama still has to play Western Carolina. Auburn has an upcoming showdown with Samford. McCaw understands why they do it: he too wants the right number of home games.

Baylor’s nonconference issue extends well beyond 2014, though. Baylor is locked in to face the following programs in the next five years: SMU, Rice, UTSA, Northwestern State, Lamar, Liberty and Incarnate Word.

In his defense, McCaw said this year’s schedule and several future games were agreed to back when Baylor hadn’t reached a bowl game in 15 years. They were chasing six wins -- the minimum for bowl eligibility -- by any means necessary.

“When I first came to Baylor in 2003, we had a lot of people wanting to schedule us in football,” McCaw said. “I’d have Michigan on line one, Ohio State on line two, Auburn on line three. They were lining up to play us at that point in time. Those phone calls aren’t prevalent at this point in time. I think certainly people recognize we’re a strong program, and it makes it much more challenging to get games scheduled.”

While that’s reasonable, Baylor continues to prefer cupcakes since rising to prominence. The series with Incarnate Word -- a San Antonio FCS school that began playing football in 2009 -- was announced in March. And while McCaw touts the Bears’ 2017 and 2018 meetings with Duke, a current top-25 program, those games were scheduled five years ago.

How can the Bears improve the future slate? McCaw and coach Art Briles are not interested in playing high-profile kickoff games in Dallas, Houston or elsewhere, because BU already has an annual neutral-site game against Texas Tech at AT&T Stadium. McCaw isn't looking to give up home games at $266 million McLane Stadium.

The reality is, Baylor has taken a gamble with its approach to nonconference play. Nine Big 12 games are a tough enough challenge. Starting off 3-0 with momentum, blowout-enhanced confidence and more experienced backups is a logical strategy.

That doesn’t mean it promises to pay off in the end. McCaw knows he might have to reevaluate future agreements if the playoff committee continues to disrespect Baylor’s scheduling efforts.

“A lot will depend on how things go this year. I think all of us are going to watch how the committee makes its final evaluation and what kind of weight they assign to various factors,” McCaw said. “It certainly could have a number of different implications, based on how the committee perceives things. But all of that right now is speculation until it actually happens.”

McCaw is confident the champion of the Big 12 will deserve a College Football Playoff bid. He knows the odds of a 10-2 team receiving that bid are, in his words, "extremely unlikely.”

So Baylor has to win out, then cross its fingers that these résumé risks pay off. The Bears have no other choice.

“We’re looking to finish strong,” McCaw said, “and make a great impression with the committee and the college football world."
IRVING, Texas -- Despite the dissolution of the BCS, the Big 12 leadership decided during the first day of spring meetings Wednesday that it would keep the same formula for breaking three- and four-way ties.

[+] EnlargeBob Bowlsby
AP Photo/Tim SharpBig 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby addressed several topics during the first day of spring meetings, including a tiebreaker tweak and unlimited meals for student-athletes.
With one slight tweak.

The BCS standings previously determined the third step of the tiebreaker. Beginning this season, it will be the College Football Playoff committee that will do the tie breaking.

“The biggest change we made was we struck the places where it said BCS and inserted CFB poll,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. “So there really wasn’t much of a change to it.”

Going forward, in the event of a three- or four-way tie, the highest-ranked team in the College Football Playoff poll (that does not advance to the playoffs) will be the Big 12 representative in the Champions Bowl (aka, the Sugar Bowl) against the SEC.

Everything else in the three-way tiebreaker will remain the same, including the head-to-head clause that was added following the 2008 season.

That year, Oklahoma emerged out of a Big 12 South Division three-way tie with Texas Tech and Texas despite losing to the Longhorns earlier that season. The Sooners were ranked one spot ahead of Texas in the BCS standing and thus advanced to the Big 12 title game.

Spearheaded by former Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, the Big 12 amended the three-way tiebreaker to allow head-to-head to come back into play should the top two teams be ranked within one spot of one another. Had the clause been in effect in 2008, Texas would have played for the Big 12 title instead of the Sooners.

"DeLoss' lasting legacy," Kansas State athletic director John Currie joked of the amendment.

Currie added that the three-way tiebreaker would be on the agenda during the athletic directors’ meeting in August in case “something developed” within the College Football Playoff ranking system.

No momentum for early signing period

Two weeks ago, the ACC concluded it would recommend an early signing period in college football to the College Commissioners Association.

The Big 12, conversely, was far from reaching a consensus on the issue on Wednesday.

“I don’t perceive any extreme momentum for that,” Currie said of the Big 12 opinion. “For every argument for that, there’s a big stack of arguments against it. Whether or not the intended result of an early signing period would reduce chaos on the back end, does that really offset? Is an early signing period going to drive more early recruiting and more early decisions? I personally believe those decisions are being made far too early in many cases.”

An early signing period is on the agenda for the College Commissioners Association’s June meeting. The ACC wants the early signing period to begin Aug. 1.

“The biggest challenge we have is a lot of people are in support of it, but there are a multitude of different options out there,” Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw said. “The football recruiting subcommittee is going to gather feedback from high school coaches, student-athletes, coaches and try to make a determination on a date that makes sense. It’s something that will be looked at extensively.”

Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt is actually chair of the NCAA football recruiting subcommittee.

Feeding the monster

Last month, the NCAA's legislative council approved a proposal to allow Division I schools to provide unlimited meals and snacks to all athletes, including walk-ons.

A chunk of Wednesday’s meeting in Irving was spent discussing how the Big 12 would implement the new legislation, which takes effect Aug. 1.

“I was really surprised during the meetings at how much variance there was among schools,” Bowlsby said. “And yet there was a fairly high comfort level that although there were uniqueness, that institutions could deal with them in their own way without others thinking, ‘Oh gosh, they’re going to get an advantage on us.’

“It was an interesting discussion that we maybe we can move into an era where all of us don’t have to do exactly the same things.”

One possible area of variance? How much each institution might spend on the unlimited meal plan.

Currie said he expects Kansas State to spend somewhere between $700,000 and $1 million a year. Texas athletic director Steve Patterson, meanwhile, estimated Texas’ cost could soar “north of $2 million.”

While the details are still being worked out across the board, Currie said Kansas State would add a morning snack to its student-athlete training table, as well as “fueling stations” in different facilities for before and after practices. Currie also said inside Kansas State’s new $65 million Vanier Football Complex will be a “significant nutrition area” that will give Kansas State's student-athletes access to items like banana smoothies into the night.

“This is going to be very positive,” Currie said. “One of the best things we’ve done.”

Lunch links: RichRod comes full circle

September, 6, 2012
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Except Hurricanes are real, muchacho.

Fun with Big 12 AD salaries!

May, 24, 2012
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USA Today released its annual survey of athletic director salaries, noting that they're rising almost as fast as coaching salaries. How did the Big 12 stack up?

Here's how they ranked:
  • DeLoss Dodds, Texas: $1,095,756
  • Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma: $975,000
  • Bill Byrne, Texas A&M: $690,000
  • Mike Alden, Missouri: $659,775
  • Kirby Hocutt, Texas Tech: $580,000
  • Jamie Pollard, Iowa State: $450,000
  • Sheahon Zenger, Kansas: $450,000
  • Ian McCaw, Baylor: $423,449
  • John Currie, Kansas State: $412,500
  • Mike Holder, Oklahoma State: $387,560

I kept old Big 12 schools in this list because they were in the Big 12 when these numbers were taken.

For the new schools?
  • Oliver Luck, West Virginia: $405,600
  • TCU's Chris Del Conte was paid $115,639 for a partial-year salary. He took over in October 2009, and his full salary was not available on public tax returns.

The most surprising name on the list was Mike Holder, who is at the bottom of the list, despite holding the position since 2005. Oklahoma State's not exactly starved for money these days, either.

Kansas State's John Currie is a newcomer to the job, and a first-time athletic director who has helped K-State become the most profitable athletic department in the country. You've got to expect a raise is coming his way, even though he had a high-profile gaffe when hoops coach Frank Martin exited stage right all the way to South Carolina.

Not surprising to see Texas and OU at the top, but that's a pretty big gap between Dodds, Castiglione and the rest of the league, especially now that Missouri and Texas A&M are gone.

Dodds is only the fourth-highest paid AD, behind Vanderbilt, Florida and Louisville's athletic directors.

What else stuck out to you?

Baylor's McCaw nominated as top AD

March, 20, 2012
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Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw is among five nominees for Athletic Director of the Year in the SportsBusiness Journal's Sports Business Awards.

McCaw is joined by Temple's Bill Bradshaw, Michigan's Dave Brandon, Michigan State's Mark Hollis and Arkansas' Jeff Long.

Under McCaw, Baylor is one of just five athletic departments (Florida, Michigan State, Ohio, NC State) with a bowl win and a Sweet 16 appearance in the 2011-12 school year.

Baylor's football, men's basketball and women's basketball teams also won a combined 40 consecutive games from November to January.

The women's team is currently the top seed in the NCAA tournament and with its first national title since 2005, could be the first team to ever go 40-0 in a season.

Texas' DeLoss Dodds won the award last year.

New Baylor stadium moves toward reality

March, 13, 2012
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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.

"We recognize that we are living in a remarkable time in the history of Baylor athletics, and we are blessed to have loyal, courageous and generous friends in Elizabeth and Drayton McLane, and their family, who have stepped forward to encourage all of us to take hold of a rare opportunity for our football program," Baylor president Ken Starr said in the release. "Their significant leadership gift will secure Baylor's position among the nation's elite collegiate athletics programs, while providing our alumni, students and student-athletes a game day experience like none other in Baylor history."

For more on this story, go here.

More thoughts from yours truly on Baylor's stadium are on the way on Wednesday, too.

Baylor advances toward a new stadium

November, 10, 2011
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Baylor announced its plans for a new stadium last weekend, and now, the process to make it a reality is underway.

The school unveiled its survey for fans to offer input on the possibility of the new stadium as part of its research before possibly beginning earnest steps toward building the new proposed venue.

From Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw:
Baylor has retained Plano-based Convention Sports & Leisure International to conduct a market and feasibility study to obtain your feedback, assess potential new seating plans and benchmark our stadium operations. With this information we are exploring opportunities to not only enhance our football game- day experience, but also generate additional resources to fund an on-campus stadium while positioning Baylor Athletics for continued competitive Big 12 Conference and national excellence.

Survey topics will include questions not only about our current football home, Floyd Casey Stadium, but premium seating, pricing and amenities that may be part of a new on-campus stadium.

We'd value your insight and opinions at this critical juncture as we assess Floyd Casey Stadium's future as well as the interest of Bear Nation to support a new on-campus football stadium.

Interesting stuff. This process will be fascinating to watch, and it's just now getting heated up.

Baylor proposes plan for new stadium

November, 7, 2011
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Baylor is the lone Big 12 team whose stadium is not located on its campus, but the university hopes to change that soon.

The school unveiled a proposal for a new riverside, on-campus stadium that it hopes will become a reality.

If so, wow. That's all I can say. What a spectacular venue that would be. Baylor already has one of the most picturesque campuses in the league, and if this stadium looks anything like the Bears hope it does, it would have the most picturesque stadium, too.

"This is the starting point of a process that will require very strong support from all of those who love Baylor football and want to bring the program back to campus," Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw said.

The school plans to undergo research surveys and a feasibility study. The stadium would be located adjacent to Interstate 35.

"This location will maximize the stadium's exposure," McCaw said, "given the more than 100,000 vehicles that travel the highway each day, while providing Baylor with an extraordinary branding opportunity."

That's definitely true.

With the Big 12's new television deal, there's lots of money flowing into every school, but a project like this will require a whole lot of support from a fan base.

It'd be a huge move for the school, but if it becomes a reality, you couldn't ask for a better venue.

DeLoss Dodds: Big 12's highest-paid AD

October, 6, 2011
10/06/11
4:00
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USA Today dug up the salaries for athletic directors at every FBS school, and in the Big 12, it's no surprise who came out on top.

Texas' DeLoss Dodds was one of six athletic directors making over $1 million.

Here's how the Big 12 ranked:

DeLoss Dodds, Texas: $1,095,756

Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma: $975,000

Bill Byrne, Texas A&M: $690,000

Mike Alden, Missouri: $659,775

Kirby Hocutt, Texas Tech: $580,000

Jamie Pollard, Iowa State: $450,000

Sheahon Zenger, Kansas: $450,000

Ian McCaw, Baylor: $423, 449

John Currie, Kansas State: $412,500

Mike Holder, Oklahoma State: $387,560

Big 12 country gets even shakier

September, 3, 2011
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Oklahoma has a decision to make, and OU president David Boren says he wants to make it within the next couple of weeks.
University of Oklahoma president David Boren says multiple conferences have shown interest in the Sooners recently and he expects to decide whether to leave the Big 12 or not within the next three weeks.

Boren said Friday that Oklahoma is seeking stability in its conference relationship with "partners that are both outstanding athletically and academically as well because a conference that's strong is not only stable but it's one in which there are multiple relationships, along with sports, between the university members."

If Oklahoma wanted, it could presumably become the SEC's 14th team, but the university turned down a reported invitation last summer and hasn't expressed much interest in joining the league since.

But the Pac-12? The Sooners' bags were packed last summer before Texas decided to stick with the Big 12 instead of heading west. But with the Big 12 down another big program -- Texas A&M is all but officially headed to the SEC -- the Sooners may not want to stay in a league that's been weakened significantly in the past year and a half.

Baylor AD Ian McCaw told reporters on Friday night that the Big 12 expansion plans are on hold until the Sooners make up their minds.

"I don't think there's anything that has to be, at all, and everything doesn't have to be done today. I mean, there's nothing that says the conference will collapse at nine," Boren said. "We have a full season to play and we'll have to go through.

"Obviously, I think if we could eventually -- and that doesn't mean in one year, maybe it's going to take two or three years -- if we were to eventually get back to 12, I would feel better about it," Boren said.

Boren said the bottom line is "I don't think OU is going to be a wallflower when all is said and done."

Lunch links: House Committee criticizes Leach

May, 25, 2010
5/25/10
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Rajon Rondo? Best player in the history of the world. The NBA: Where Overreaction Happens.

Also, Texas Tech completely dominated Monday's headlines for whatever reason.

Baylor-Wake Forest set for ABC/ESPN coverage

June, 4, 2009
6/04/09
5:22
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Baylor officials announced today that the Bears' Sept. 5 opener at Wake Forest will be nationally televised by ABC/ESPN.

The game will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET. The Atlantic Coast Conference announced the game will be regionally broadcast on ABC, with a mirror telecast on ESPN2.

"Baylor football is on the rise and our television partners are excited about our program's bright future," Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw said. "Having the Wake Forest game televised on both ABC and ESPN2 affords our program tremendous exposure and we are thrilled with this opportunity."

Baylor's last appearance on ABC came in 1997, when the Bears dropped a 45-14 decision to 13th-ranked Miami, Fla., in Waco before a regional television audience.

Baylor also announced that kickoff for its Sept. 19 home opener against Connecticut will be at 5 p.m. ET and home contests against Northwestern State on Sept. 26 and Kent State on Oct. 3 will both kick off at 7 p.m. ET.

As of Thursday, here's the link to all of the games that are currently scheduled to be broadcast by the ABC/ESPN networks.  

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