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1.19.2012 Daily Bears Report: How Big Need Baylor's Stadium Be?

Another long day means we're doing this in the evening. Maybe this will actually be a better way? We'll see.

I have two things I want to talk about below the jump, but let's start on a different note by going with the links first. We don't have very many, actually, because I posted so many last night in the DBR.

And that's pretty much it for today.

Hit the jump below for more...

As part of the DBR tonight I want to address two topics that have recently come to prominence in Baylor circles, the first of which concerns the prospect of a new stadium for Baylor football. Baylor's proposed stadium has been an extremely important topic of conversation for several months now and rightfully so, it would be the single biggest off-the-field development for Baylor football in the last half-century. I've made no mistake of my feelings for the project; I absolutely love the renderings that were released at Homecoming and everything I've heard about the project since then.

How big should Baylor's stadium be?

Baylor's subscription sites like BearsIllustrated (Scout) and BearsTruth (247Sports) have done an incredible job of getting Baylor fans looking for inside information exactly what they're looking for. As a member of those sites, I'm not going to steal that info and give it to you now. That's not my place. I will say, though, that one aspect of the leaked information that has received a lot of attention recently is the proposed size of the stadium.

For those that haven't heard, the stadium Baylor is looking to build will not represent a huge increase, if any, in seating from Floyd Casey Stadium. The number I've heard bandied about most is something like 45,000 in total attendance including standing room and luxury suites. That is exactly the same amount, I believe, of FCS with the tarp over the endzone. Predictably, two camps emerged in response to this information with the first believing that number to be much too small and the second saying that 45,000 is just about right. Put me in the second camp; I think a stadium of 45,000 or so that we can fill consistently is much more appropriate for Baylor University at this time than one of 60,000 (or more) that would leave seats unfilled or invite opposing fans in droves.

Baylor's primary purpose in getting away from FCS is to rid itself of an outdated off-campus facility far below the standards of the modern era and move Baylor football out of Beverly Hills. Baylor believes that by putting a state-of-the-art stadium on campus next to the river, it can help create a gameday atmosphere second to none in the country. The goal is not necessarily to increase our seating capacity or get more in line with our peers in attendance; those things are largely irrelevant despite what opposing fans think. We shouldn't build a bigger stadium just to build one.

Some Baylor fans seem to believe that we must have exactly what other schools have just to keep pace. UT and A&M play in stadiums seating close to 100k, so we must. To them, the idea of replicating a smaller stadium is a disgrace. I've seen/heard the design referred to as "visionless," "ridiculous," and "short-sighted," as if building a stadium we can actually fill with Baylor fans is a bad idea. Baylor fans need to realize that we are not UT or A&M in the size of our enrollment, our alumni base, or our fanbase as a whole and probably never will be. In our best season in two decades, we averaged slightly more than 42,000 fans with our ticket office actually giving away several thousand tickets per game and allowing our opponents to basically have as big of an allotment as they wanted. Our fanbase will grow with success, it is true, but all that means with a smaller stadium (one that is about the same size as FCS now) is that we give away fewer tickets (raising revenue) and push out opposing fans (meaning a better crowd for Baylor football and a better experience for Baylor fans). If we get to the point where demand for our tickets outpaces supply, how is that bad? Those fans that actually buy the tickets won't be the ones with nothing else to do on a Saturday morning, but instead those that want to be there and worked to get the tickets. I would love to get to the point where Baylor fans can't find tickets for a Baylor football game because the stadium was already full. That's not elitism; it is the hope that tickets to Baylor's football games become things of tremendous value to our fans.

Why are we slamming our recruits online?

The second issue I'm going to mention much more briefly concerns something that happened on another Baylor board today. I'm not going to link to it because I don't want to draw attention to the specific thread, but a thread appeared slamming one of Baylor's recruits, Zack Sanchez. As I spoke about this afternoon in last night's DBR, Sanchez is going to take a visit to OU next weekend (he's visiting Baylor this weekend) and is considering switching his verbal commitment to Oklahoma.

I've never really understood why people get so angry at the kids themselves (or their families) in this type of situation. Which university to attend is probably the biggest decision that recruit has had to make in their lives to date, and it is not one that we as fans should want to be taken lightly. We want recruits to look closely at what Baylor has to offer just like other fans want recruits to look at the schools they love. There is nothing wrong with a recruit questioning his decision (if he already committed) or taking his time (if he did not). It is irresponsible and ridiculous for us, as fans of a school not involved in that decision-making process, to question or insult that process. Yes there are always going to be kids that abuse the process or just want to screw with people (Ryan Perrilloux comes to mind immediately), but for everyone of those kids there are hundreds, if not thousands, just trying to find the best fit. Why in the world do we fault them for that?

If you think I'm blowing things out of proportion, what happened today should be the cautionary tale. Sanchez, a recruit that fell in love with and committed to Baylor after working his butt off at camps/workouts to earn his offer, saw the thread, saw what was being said about him, and reacted angrily to it on twitter, calling our fans "idiots" openly. Is that what we want our recruits to think about us, that we're just making stuff up to slander them on message boards when they're trying to make a decision of the utmost importance? Of course not. It does the school we love no favors and I doubt our coaches are very happy knowing that kind of thing is out there.

I'm trying to build a community of Baylor fans here that feel comfortable engaging in reasonable discussion about Baylor athletics, college athletics, or anything else they want. I want to make a home for Baylor people on the web where they can come together and know that they don't have to deal with stuff like that. To that end I am telling you now that I will not allow anything like what happened today with Zack Sanchez to happen here. You will not insult, degrade, or make fun of Baylor's recruits on this site. Or I should say you won't do it twice. It is uncalled for, ridiculous, and immensely damaging to the university we purport to love.

/Steps off the soapbox.

I had to get that second part off my chest because I was disgusted to see that today.