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Daily Bears Report 12/1 - Baylor Bashing Contributes to ESPN loss of 1.2 Million Subscribers

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Three Lady Bears on Naismith Trophy Watchlist. Football’s lone remaining recruit: “I still love Baylor.”

NCAA Womens Basketball: Grambling State at Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s Events

Women's Basketball, vs Abilene Christian, 7:00 PM, Listen, Watch

Baylor Lady Bears

Why Australian guard Kristy Wallace is so important for Baylor

Kristy Wallace is a bit of a wanderer. She traveled more than 8,000 miles from her native Australia to play at Baylor, one of the top programs in women's college basketball, and she's been roving ever since arriving in Texas two years ago from Loganholme in southeastern Queensland. ESPN’s Thomas Neumann has the full story at ESPN dot com.

Whether taking a holiday trip to Colorado, meandering away from teammates on a visit to Universal Studios or just pedaling her Schwinn around campus, she seems to always be on the move.

"Kristy is known for being a roamer," said Lady Bears forward Dekeiya Cohen. "If we all go someplace, we look around like, 'Where's Kristy?' That's her role. We always look out for Kristy. No matter where we go, 'Where's Kristy? Where's Kristy?' As soon as we get somewhere, she automatically goes exploring."

Wallace acknowledges her adventurous streak and recalled with a laugh the time she got lost riding her bike to Best Buy from the Waco campus as a freshman.

Wallace is described as energetic, feisty and aggressive on the court and funny, friendly and free-spirited away from the gym. She already has a wealth of international experience, having captained the Australian national squad that beat Spain to win the bronze medal at the U19 world championship last year in Russia. She also helped lead Australia to titles at the 2013 FIBA U19 Pacific Championship and the 2014 FIBA U18 Oceania Championship.

Naismith Trophy Watch List

Three Baylor women’s basketball student-athletes, sophomore post Kalani Brown, senior forward Nina Davis and senior point guard Alexis Jones, are included on the Naismith Trophy Women’s College Player of the Year Preseason Watch List, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Wednesday. From Baylor Bears dot com.

The list, which currently includes 50 players, will be narrowed to 30 student-athletes on Feb. 8, 2017. Davis appears on the award’s preseason watch list for the third consecutive year, while Brown and Jones make their first appearance. Baylor leads the Big 12 with three selections and is one of four teams to have at least three players in consideration for the award.

Through eight games, Brown leads the Lady Bears in rebounds (8.9) and field goal percentage (.719), and has posted one double-double, the second of her career. She is also averaging 14.1 points, 1.6 assists and 1.5 blocks per game off the bench. The preseason All-Big 12 honorable mention selection has already set new career-high marks this season in points (25), rebounds (19), assists (6), blocks (5), steals (3), field goals made (12), field goals attempted (15), free throws made (8), free throws attempted (9) and minutes played (29). Brown’s 19 boards against No. 9/9 UCLA on Nov. 14, tied for 10th on Baylor’s single game rebounds list. The Slidell, La., native has led the Lady Bears in points and rebounds three times and blocks twice this year, and picked up her first career Big 12 Player of the Week honor (Nov. 14) opening week.

Davis, the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, has started every game for Baylor this season. She is averaging 10.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 0.9 steals per game. The two-time consensus All-American has led the Lady Bears in scoring, rebounds, assists and steals once this year, and has netted double figures five times. Davis has the ability to take her game to another level at any time. Against No. 18/17 DePaul on Nov. 26, she registered six points, two steals and one rebound in a span of 17 seconds. She closed the contest with 16 points, four boards, and three steals. The Memphis, Tenn., native has also been recognized as a preseason Associated Press All-American and an All-Big 12 first team honoree.

Jones, an honorable mention All-American, is the starting point guard for the Lady Bears. She paces the team offensively, averaging 16.4 points per game and making 60 percent of her three-point field goal attempts. Jones distributes 4.9 assists, pulls down 3.6 rebounds and tallies 1.7 steals per game so far this season. She has led Baylor in steals four times, points three times, assists twice and rebounds once, including three 20-point games and one double-double, the seventh of her career. The Irving, Texas, native, has been named to the 2017 Nancy Leiberman Award Watch List, the preseason All-Big 12 first team and Big 12 Player of the Week (Nov. 29).

Allstate WBCA Good Works Team

Baylor senior Nina Davis was named a 2017 Allstate WBCA Good Works Team nominee on Wednesday, as announced by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). From Baylor Bears dot com.

The esteemed award honors an outstanding group of student-athletes who represent the sport’s finest in the areas of community service and leadership among their peers.

“The positive impact that student-athletes are making on college campuses and communities around the world can sometimes go unnoticed,” said Thomas Clarkson, president of the west territory for Allstate Insurance Company and a member of the 2017 WBCA Good Works Team selection panel. “Allstate is a proud supporter of NCAA college basketball and takes immense pride in working with the NABC and WBCA to recognize players who continue to make giving back a priority and inspire future generations of athletes.”

As a two-time consensus All-American, Davis is certainly a leader on the court for the Lady Bears, but she is also a pillar in the community. She gives back each year, reading at elementary schools, speaking to youth at prisons, sharing her love for Christ through Fellowship of Christian Athletes, visiting patients in the hospital and NICU, and even going on summer mission trips to Brazil each year.

"Nina is a natural leader. I think it all comes from her commitment to excellence and her integrity. When she says she is going to be a part of something you can count on her to do it," said Baylor Director of Sports Ministry Wes Yeary.

Her platform as a Baylor student-athlete gives her a voice and she is not afraid to use it. She uses her status to have a positive impact.

“Being in the position that I’m in, I know that a lot of people look up to me and it’s helped me learn to be grateful for what I have,” Davis said. “I want to be able to give back to the fans and the community because they support me so much. The fans always come, we always have a lot of people in the crowd and they always come up to me, so it makes me want to be a better person. When I hear of different situations or stories, I always want to help and give back.”

No matter where she goes after graduation, Davis plans to continue to give back. She has been inspired to make a difference in the lives of youth since receiving guidance of her own as a young person in her hometown of Memphis, Tenn.

Davis is one of 97 student-athletes nominated. A total of 10 will be named to the Allstate WBCA Good Works Team in February, and selected student-athletes will be honored at the 2017 WBCA Convention and at the 2017 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Dallas.

No. 4/4 Baylor returns to action inside the Ferrell Center tonight, against Abilene Christian. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. (CT) and the game will be broadcast on FCS.

11th Annual “Care Bear” Drive

The Baylor women’s basketball team will hold its 11th annual “Care Bear” drive tonight when it hosts Abilene Christian at 7 p.m. (CT). From Baylor Bears dot com.

Whataburger returns as the event sponsor for the second year and will provide $5 admission to the game and a coupon for a free Whataburger (while supplies last) to each fan who donates a new bear. All donated bears will be delivered to children and patients at Waco’s Baylor Scott & White Hospital by Lady Bears student-athletes and staff.

“Our team and fans look forward to participating in this event each year and I’m appreciative to Whataburger our event sponsor for its continued involvement,” head women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey said. “Our players and staff enjoy visiting with patients and sharing the holiday spirit with these bears.”

"Whataburger is happy to partner with Baylor athletics to sponsor their Care Bear drive, especially during the holiday season,” said Whataburger Area Manager Shawn Oliver. "We know being treated in a hospital can make us anxious and we can’t imagine what a child goes through. We’re more than happy to do what we can to help children in our community have a more positive experience."

Men’s Basketball

Bears Down Sam Houston State 79-45

Reserve King McClure scored 14 points and No. 9 Baylor remained unbeaten with a 79-45 victory over Sam Houston State on Wednesday night. From Baylor Bears dot com.

Baylor shot 46.4 percent from the field, including 13 for 31 from 3-point range. On the other end, Sam Houston State missed its first 13 shots while Baylor opened the game on a 10-0 run. The Bears (7-0) limited the Bearkats to 28.6 percent shooting and blocked 11 shots.

Al Freeman had 13 points for the Bears, and Ishmail Wainright added 12. Their big front line players, Jo Lual-Acuil and Johnathan Motley, dominated the boards with 14 rebounds apiece.

Sam Houston State (4-3) came in averaging 81.7 points per game, but never got into a rhythm. Aurimas Majauskas led the Bearkats with 13 points.

BIG PICTURE

Sam Houston State: There weren't many positives to take from this game. The Bearkats were selected as the Southland Conference favorite in the preseason, thanks to an experienced roster. But they were overwhelmed by Baylor's size on the inside and shooting on the perimeter.

Baylor: This had every opportunity to be a sandwich game for the Bears. They defeated two ranked teams in No. 24 Michigan State and No. 10 Louisville to win the Battle 4 Atlantis last week and will host No. 7 Xavier on Saturday. They avoided that trap with a defense that contested nearly every shot without fouling. Sam Houston State had one free throw attempt.

UP NEXT

Sam Houston State returns home for four of its next five games, starting with LSU-Shreveport on Saturday. The Bearkats have one more road test against a Power Five team before opening conference play. That comes Dec. 22 against Arkansas.

Baylor has knocked off three ranked teams and gets another shot Saturday, when it welcomes No. 7 Xavier. That figures to be the last difficult hurdle between the Bears and an undefeated nonconference run.

The Bears have wins over three teams ranked in the preseason top 13 (Oregon, Michigan State and Louisville), and thus have risen to No. 9 in the most recent Associated Press poll.

Not only was Baylor unranked coming into the year, Scott Drew’s club did not appear on one ballot* in either poll. There were 25 other teams receiving votes in the AP poll and 31 additional teams receiving votes in the coaches poll, so the Bears weren’t just out of the top 25, they were outside of the top 56.

*I did not have a vote in the AP poll, but Baylor was No. 18 on my preseason Bleacher Report ballot. Consider chest puffed.”

Football

  • West Virginia and Baylor both saw their Big 12 title hopes squashed by mid-November, but both still have plenty to play for in their regular season finale on Saturday afternoon in Morgantown, W. Va.. From Fox Sports.

Baylor (6-5, 3-5 Big 12), which has dropped five in a row since beginning the season with a 6-0 start that included an impressive 35-24 victory over Oklahoma State, could finish with a winning record for the seventh straight season by beating 14th-ranked Mountaineers. That's something that has never been done before in school history.

West Virginia (9-2, 6-2) can win 10 games for just the ninth time in school history. And if the Mountaineers can also pick up a victory in a bowl game, Dana Holgorsen's squad would match the school record with an 11-win season. Not bad for a team picked to finish seventh in the Big 12's preseason media poll.

And then there was one. From USA Today High School Sports.

When defensive back Noah Daniels, a Clear Creek (Texas) product, decommitted from Baylor last week, he left the school’s football program with just one commit for the Class of 2017. That teen is Jalen Pitre, a safety from Stafford (Texas) High who insists he isn’t going anywhere else, despite the never-ending toxic spread of news related to the rape coverups, defensive stances from school officials and even absurd denials by those who were left behind to steer the program.

So, why would a bright teenager with endless promise decide to commit his future to a football program in disarray with further NCAA violations potentially on the horizon?

According to Pitre, the answer has everything to do with loyalty, as he told 247Sports.

“I was just blessed to get that offer,” Pitre told 247Sports. “They offered me before my injury last year. When I tore my ACL they’ve shown love to me since then. I think it’d be wrong if I didn’t do the same. I actually really love the school no matter what they said happened and all that other stuff.

“I still love Baylor.”

There were no teams from the state of Texas ranked in The Associated Press poll this week for the first time since Sept. 14, 1997. Depending how the bowl season goes, this could be a first of sorts for Texas college football in the 80-year history of the AP poll .

The only times that no Texas schools were ranked in the final AP poll came in 1965 and 1967 , when rankings only went to 10. But in those seasons, at least one Texas school was among 10 others receiving votes.

It will be up to Houston (9-3) and Texas A&M (8-4) to keep the state from being shut out of the final rankings.

Baylor Bashing Contributes to ESPN’s Loss of 1.2 Million Subscribers

The once seemingly invincible sports juggernaut, which has exponentially increased its political posturing in the past several years, lost 621,000 subscribers a month ago, and shed another 555,000 during November (i.e., heading into December), according to Nielsen's December 2016 Cable Coverage Estimates ("monthly" reports are apparently issued on the closest Monday to the first of the month on four-week, four-week, five-week rotation).

Each subscriber lost means roughly $7 per month less, or about $80 per year, going into Disney's coffers. Given the network's heavy multi-year commitments to rights fees paid to carry live sporting events ($7.3 billion next year), the accelerating subscriber decline has to be causing some serious indigestion at Mickey Mouse Headquarters.

Listed as one of the reasons for the down turn is Baylor Bashing:

The network, which like so many others in the media tries to generalize guilt, is catching flak from people in Waco, Texas, home of Baylor University, who believe that it has "accused city of Waco residents as well as Baylor of being immoral about the happenings that went on at Baylor." The school's sexual assault scandal has indeed been awful, but tarring an entire school and city for it is out of bounds.

Scandal

Liberty and Baylor Universities At Odds
  • In hiring former Baylor Athletic Director Ian McCaw, Liberty University officials apparently rejected the claims of Baylor regents that McCaw failed to report a nine-month-old gang-rape allegation. KWTX TV 10 has the complete story.

The university announced Monday that it hired McCaw to succeed Jeff Barber, who announced on Nov. 17 that he was resigning effective immediately.

“We concluded after our investigation that Ian McCaw did not attempt to hide the sexual assault that was reported but, instead, had one of his coaches report it to Judicial Affairs at Baylor in 2013, in accordance with Baylor’s policies and procedures at the time. The victim did not want the incident reported to police so Judicial Affairs was the only place the incident could have been reported at that time,” Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., said in a question-and-answer session with the school’s news service.

Multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation have confirmed to KWTX that the woman’s coach did call the office and that he was told that the office could do nothing because the woman and her family did not want to pursue the case.

The coach is not currently able to speak publicly about the incident, but sources familiar with the case told KWTX earlier that he called the Judicial Affairs Office, asked how to report a rape, and was told that they could only move forward with the woman’s cooperation.

The woman left Baylor the day after informing her coach of the incident, but sources say her coach encouraged her in the months following to report the allegation.

The conclusion that McCaw didn’t attempt to cover up the alleged rape is at odds with information that regents provided earlier this month to the Dallas Morning News and with a statement released on Nov. 11 in which Baylor said McCaw, then head football coach Art Briles and the woman’s coach did not report the allegations to Judicial Affairs “or to anyone else outside of the Athletics Department.”

Baylor Regents meet with Faculty and Staff
  • Baylor Regent Dr. Ron Wilson, who participated in a meeting Tuesday with members of the school’s faculty and staff, said afterward it would take too much time and cost too much money to produce a written version of the scathing Pepper Hamilton review of the sexual assault scandal that engulfed the university’s athletic department. From KWTX TV 10.

“Pepper Hamilton is an oral report so the process of writing would take four to six months. Also with the personal nature of the information so much of it would be redacted. Plus, the cost would be a factor,” Wilson said.

The Pepper Hamilton law firm, which the university hired to conduct the independent review, produced a 13-page findings of fact that didn’t identify any specific cases or cite any individuals by name.

The university has rejected repeated calls to release full details of the report, which led to the decision on May 26 to fire head football coach Art Briles, reassign Chancellor and President Ken Starr, and suspend Athletic Director Ian McCaw.

Starr and Briles have since reached settlements with the school and on Monday McCaw was introduced as the new athletic director at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

The meeting Monday at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative facility in Waco was the first of four scheduled “in an effort to enhance communication” and to “provide additional insight into the university’s response to sexual violence and the implementation of improvements,” according to the Faculty Senate and Staff Council, which is sponsoring the sessions.

The two-hour meeting, attended by several regents and interim Baylor President David Garland, included a question-and-answer session for which questions had to be submitted in advance.

Wilson, said the meeting Tuesday went well, but said nothing new was addressed.

“We didn’t say anything new. Nothing new was brought up that hasn’t already been said in the media and online,” Wilson said.