Baylor should go ahead and fully embrace the Big 12

By Meredith Pratt | Staff Writer

Baylor doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to Big 12 conference pride. I think that’s something we should change.

Our athletic teams proudly wear the Big 12 logo on their uniforms, which is great for Baylor’s co-branding and identification with the conference, but the next step is getting the school to display our conference partners logos at our athletic venues — be it flags, banners or pennants — to further demonstrate our solidarity and unity with our conference members.

For reference, many other Big 12 schools clearly display the logos of their fellow conference members.

Example of this include the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma bands displaying conference flags every game day.

I’ve seen Kansas State University and West Virginia University both fly the Big 12 members’ flags around their stadiums.

Every time I go to games at Texas Christian University, I notice all of the logos in their arena and conference member flags outside their stadium on the west side.

Conference pride is quite prevalent in other parts of the nation too, such as the flags displayed by teams in the Big Ten and SEC. Admittedly, it does take time to build that deep sense of camaraderie. These conferences have been around a lot longer, so they’ve had more time to build rivalries and history.

I would like to think that Baylor is heavily invested in the long-term success of its partnership with the Big 12 as a Power 5, autonomous conference. Because of this, we should embrace it more fully and not have any hang-ups about promoting the conference, its brand and the member institutions who partner together.

Years ago, steps were taken to increase conference pride at Baylor when banners from the other Big 12 member were put on display on the pedestrian bridge over the river to McLane Stadium. This effort was short-lived as the banners received so much negative feedback that they were quickly removed.

To me, that reaction seems a bit unfounded. Having a Tech, TCU, Texas or any other Big 12 team’s banner displayed on campus or at our athletic venues wouldn’t make us look weak. More importantly, it wouldn’t diminish our athletes’ drive to defeat them in competitive sports.

Baylor should put those banners back up. I would call on any Big 12 schools to support the conference in this small way if they do not already.

I think it’s important that the ten current Big 12 members continue to work hard building rivalries while still taking pride in the collective successes of the conference. Embracing the conference will ultimately help build and strengthen it in the long run.