Ian McCaw Speaks to BearsIllustrated

Leading up to one of the most anticipated Football seasons in Baylor Athletics history, Director of Athletics, Ian McCaw, took the time to answer questions from our members of BearsIllustrated.com

These are exciting times for the Baylor Bears. Coming off their first Big 12 Championship, in school history, the Bears look to take the field in their brand new, state-of-the-art, McLane Stadium on August 31st against the SMU Mustangs. With the anticipation being at it's highest, BearsIllustrated was able to catch up with Baylor's Director of Athletics, Ian McCaw, to get his thoughts on all things Baylor and the Big 12.

--- Whether it be the seemingly very successful launch of networks like the SEC Network or for other reasons, do you anticipate the Big 12 will re-look their Tier 3 model and consider the possibility of all schools joining together for a conference wide network like we've seen from the other of the Power Conferences?

Under Bob Bowlsby’s leadership, the Big 12 is making great strides on many fronts at this time. We will continue to monitor the marketplace relative to third-tier television opportunities. Based upon the success of the Big Ten Network and anticipated response to the SEC Network, it does make sense for the Big 12 to explore ways to aggregate our third-tier television rights to best position our membership for the future.

--- Realizing there are plenty of construction projects currently underway already, and with Athletic complexes and buildings like the BANC now surrounding the marina, does Baylor have any plans to redo the entire marina area?

The Beauchamp Athletic Nutrition Center construction is scheduled to begin in the early fall in order for the facility to be ready to serve Baylor student-athletes next summer. Within the project’s scope we do anticipate that there will be some improvements made to the marina.

--- Is there one or two football players in the last few years that really stand out to you as great to work with?

There are certainly more than one or two Baylor football student-athletes who have been great representatives of the University and a pleasure to work with. In fact, we have recently hired a couple of former football student-athletes with Nick Florence serving in the athletics development area and Terrance Ganaway in our athletics business office.

--- Do you get to enjoy yourself on game day, or is there too much going on that you can't really soak it in?

Game day for our staff is very much a work day, yet it is a labor of love. I typically have a tight schedule that has me making a variety of appearances, presentations, meetings, visits, etc., so it would be a different experience than the fans get to enjoy. At the same time, there are special moments, such as celebrating the Big 12 championship last year with Coach Briles, that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

--- What details can you share about the Ferrell Center renovation? Timeline, cost etc...

The Ferrell Center renovation is part of Pro Futuris, the University’s five-year strategic plan. We are currently focused on completing McLane Stadium, Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium, Williams Family Soccer and Olympic Sports Center and the Beauchamp Athletics Nutrition Center. Once we get further along with this set of projects, we will turn our attention to developing a project scope and plan, fundraising effort and then develop a more specific project timeline.

--- With the soon to be completion of McLane Stadium and the Track and Field complex due to be finalized in the fall, what is the next large construction project on your agenda?

The Williams Family Soccer and Olympic Sports Center project is underway and the Beauchamp Athletics Nutrition Center will start very soon.

--- With quite a few coaches saying it is unfair for the Big 12 to not have a championship game, what is your stance on the Big 12 appealing for a conference game with just 10 members, and do you see any benefit in that game for the conference as a whole?

We are very pleased with the current scheduling model in the Big 12 with a full round robin and One True Champion being determined. If the Big 12 is granted a waiver to hold a championship game, it should and will be considered. Personally, I wouldn’t change anything since I believe the Big 12 has the best and most equitable method of determining its champion.

--- How much has the budget at Baylor grown since you were first brought on?

In 2003-04 the athletics department budget was approximately $26M. Today, it is more than $82M, so that is an increase of approximately 315 percent. That is a credit to the outstanding work of our staff and coaches, and allows us to invest more resources into our programs and student-athletes.

--- What is your feeling on the Power-5 splitting off from the rest of the NCAA conversation and your take on the changes that schools need to make to better serve student athletes?

With last weeks vote by the NCAA Board of Directors to grant the five high visibility conferences autonomy over critical issues within a new NCAA governance structure, college athletics has a new direction. It is essential that the 5 HVC build a consensus around these important issues and bring forth legislation to create the necessary change to address the student-athlete welfare issues.\

--- Would you want the Power-5 conferences to split off and make their own rules so to speak, or do you think there are things that all Division I colleges can do and keep the landscape of college athletes similar to what it is now?

In my view, this would be a very contentious and damaging approach to dealing with the current issues in college athletics. While we clearly need reform, I am afraid that this approach would invite even more litigation and governmental intervention which would be detrimental to the enterprise. Collegiate athletics administrators, specifically Commissioners and ADs, are in the best position to lead positive reform and it can best occur with the 5 HVC gaining autonomy within a reformed NCAA governance structure.

--- What is your favorite part of your job?

I enjoy the variety of my job as no two days are the same. There are a lot of different people to work with and issues to work through, so that makes it interesting. The most rewarding part of the job is observing the personal and professional growth of our student-athletes and staff members.

--- Were all the boat slips sold?

We have constructed 18 boat slips in the basin adjacent to McLane Stadium and they have been assigned to Bear Foundation members.

--- At what point in your career did you realize you wanted to be an Athletic Director at the collegiate level?

When I joined the senior athletics administrative staff at Tulane under Kevin White, who now serves as AD at Duke, the thought of becoming an AD became a realistic career goal. I have been blessed to have some wonderful mentors and colleagues who have been incredibly supportive over the years, and we have an amazing staff at Baylor who are truly a treat to serve alongside.

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