Whatever you think of Baylor University’s beleaguered board of regents, football program (past and present) and snarled interpretations of Title IX, we can surely celebrate the Associated Press’ No. 2 rankings of Baylor’s basketball teams, both women’s and men’s. Our good friend Carroll Webb, a 1947 Baylor graduate, active nonagenarian and longtime backer of the Baylor Bear Foundation, says these twin rankings are a historic joint first for Baylor.
We expected nothing less from the Lady Bears, but the men’s team has been playing phenomenal ball lately, evident in Friday’s 76-50 win at Oklahoma. Its ranking represents not only a notch in school history but sustained talent, as seen in victories over contenders such as Louisville and Michigan State. Baylor went nearly four decades before the men’s team under coach Scott Drew made an AP ranking several years ago. And if the Lady Bears’ victory over the Kansas Jayhawks is any indication, the team under Kim Mulkey has a credible shot at a national championship.
The new year opens with Baylor regents and alumni increasingly at odds, with little concession or meaningful communication one way or the other regarding leadership. Title IX policy on sexual violence promises to become only more confusing as the U.S. Department of Education falls under new oversight Jan. 20. And various lawsuits, including one by former head football coach Art Briles that might elicit some answers, await resolution. But Baylor’s push to impress upon students the gravity of sexual violence and the basketball victories at least offer some hope for a better 2017.