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Report: Lead Stadium Gift Confirmed for the Palace on the Brazos

Soon. (Photo by Dave Einsel/Getty Images)
Soon. (Photo by Dave Einsel/Getty Images)
Getty Images

David Smoak of ESPN 1660 in Waco and (@DavidSmoak on Twitter) apparently told listeners to his show this afternoon that the same source that told him about last Friday's stadium announcement beforehand has confirmed the pledge of a significant sum of money to Baylor's stadium fund by none other than Drayton McLane (other sources are reporting it was $150 million, but Smoak didn't say that himself). Costs for the stadium have been listed as anywhere from $250 million (by the Waco Trib) to over $300 million (speculation from multiple sources), making this pledge anywhere from ~50% to 60% of the overall fundraising goal.

If true, this is possibly the biggest news in the history of Baylor athletics.  As I said in the rendering article earlier this week, Baylor was relying on the generosity of Mr. McLane to form the foundation for its fundraising efforts.  Significant fundraising remains to be done, obviously, but this kind of a commitment from a prominent alumnus of the University can only mean positive things for the direction of the project.  Having that one major donor fronting the effort provides a face for other alumni and a statement that Baylor and Mr. McLane are serious about getting this project off the ground.

For his part, Mr. McLane has always been very frank about his desire to see Baylor football moved into a modern home on the banks of the Brazos.  If this news is true, he has gone beyond words into actions.  Baylor and her fans owe it to him and to themselves to build on what he has done and use it as the beginning, not the end, of a commitment to making this gorgeous stadium a reality.  We should celebrate this news for what it is while recognizing that significant work remains to be done.

I will say, though, that I couldn't be happier at this moment about the prospects for Baylor football.  All I can think of is sitting in that stadium with my family, looking south out of the horseshoe endzone toward our beautiful campus, and knowing that Baylor football has a home that all of us can be proud of.