|Sports:||baseball, basketball, cross country, equestrian, football, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track, volleyball|
|Degrees:||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral|
|Endowment:||$2.6 billion (2019)|
Baylor University was chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas and is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning and the largest Southern Baptist university in the world.
Baylor has grown to almost 14,000 students and offers 76 master's and 22 doctoral programs, two educational specialists, juris doctor, master of divinity and doctor of ministry. Its law school is notable for its emphasis on producing lawyers who will practice in Texas courts; as part of the curriculum in a student's third year s/he must take several "Practice Court" classes (and must schedule any other classes around them) which emphasize actual courtroom practice.
Its athletic programs are members of the Big 12 Conference. Its most dominant program is women's basketball, which has won three national titles (2005, 2012 and 2019; the 2012 team was the first to go 40–0 in NCAA women's basketball history). The men's basketball team won the 2021 national title, only the second program from Texas to do so (in an all-Christian university matchup against Gonzaga, one of the powerhouse programs in men's basketball in its own right).
The school has not been without controversy. Though Southern Baptist in origin, Baylor is not officially affiliated with either of the two state Southern Baptist groups (its founding predates the SBC and the two Texas state conventions); it is roughly affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, which is partially affiliated with the liberal Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
Furthermore, its athletic programs have been the center of two major scandals in the 21st century:
- First, in 2003 men's basketball player Patrick Dennehy was murdered by teammate Carlton Dotson after an argument. What on the surface appeared to be a routine criminal investigation quickly unraveled as questioned arose as to how Dennehy could afford Baylor's tuition since he was a "walk-on" player and apparently did not have an academic scholarship either. Men's basketball coach Dave Bliss tried to avoid suspicion by claiming that Dennehy was paying his own tuition by selling drugs; ultimately it was discovered that Bliss was paying Dennehy's and another teammate's tuition on the side, in violation of NCAA rules. After further illegal activities arose (drug use ignored by the coaching staff and an "illegal tryout" of a recruit) and a report that Bliss had illegally paid tuition for a player while the head coach at Southern Methodist University, Bliss was forced to resign. Tom Stanton, the Baylor Athletic Director, also resigned: though there was no evidence he knew about the activities, he did so to take responsibility for what happened. Ultimately Baylor lost scholarships, was not permitted to play any non-conference games for one season, and Bliss was hit with a ten-year "show cause order". Bliss has not worked at an NCAA school since; he later coached a private Christian school (which ended up being kicked out of its league for misconduct) and later at an NAIA school (from which he resigned after a Showtime documentary aired about his actions while at Baylor).
- Second, in 2016 the football team was the center of allegations that, from 2012 to 2016, players on the team had assaulted (sexually and otherwise) females attending Baylor, and that university officials had failed to take action. The scandal resulted in the ouster of head football coach Art Briles and the resignations of university president Ken Starr and athletic director Ian McCaw. Patty Crawford, Baylor's Title IX director, also resigned, claiming that she was not allowed to do her job in protecting the female students by university officials.
- College Search - Baylor University - BU - At a Glance (English). College Board. Retrieved on May 28, 2010.
- U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Endowment Market Value and Change* in Endowment Market Value from FY18 to FY19 (Revised). Retrieved on September 6, 2020.
- A "walk-on" player is a player on a college athletic team who does not have an athletic scholarship; NCAA rules limit the number of scholarship players on a team. A "walk-on" player chooses to attend a school for many reasons, such as lack of interest in colleges offering a scholarship (often less prestigious ones) or who may simply want to attend that school for other reasons, such as for a particular academic program.
- In the NCAA, if another institution wishes to hire a person under a show cause order, that institution must show the person has complied or is complying with the terms of the order. Most institutions will not even consider hiring someone who is under a show cause order, or in some cases even after the period ends, thus essentially blackballing the person from NCAA employment.
- McCaw is now the athletic director at Liberty University; his team gained a small measure of revenge when the Flames defeated Baylor in Waco in 2017, the Flames first victory over a major college program.