If you thought Oklahoma St. benefited from T. Boone Pickens' black gold bullion, wait until you get a look at Uncle Sam's sawbucks. Sam Walton, that is.
Drayton McLane is a Baylor graduate, former owner of the Houston Astros, and ex-Walmart executive. McLane sold his company, the McLane Co., to good friend and tennis partner Sam Walton in 1991 for a cool 10.1 million Walmart shares and $50 million in cash.
He's even further flush with dollars after recently selling the Astros to Jim Crane for $610 million. Without all that dedicated time to running the Astros into the ground, McLane decided to go ahead and buy a stadium while helping his alma mater out in the process.
Today, the Baylor athletics department announced that McLane and his wife, Elizabeth, will be the primary donors for a brand new, on-campus football stadium. Moar amenities for Texas fans!
Per the release:
The new on-campus Baylor Stadium is expected to be built on a 93-acre site on Interstate 35, one of the nation's busiest highways, traversed by more than 42 million drivers annually. The stadium will hold 45,000 spectators, with the flexibility to expand to 55,000 in the future. It also will feature a bridge crossing the Brazos River and connecting the stadium to the campus, canopy shading for half of all seats throughout the day, open concourses with views directly into the stadium, suites, loge boxes, indoor and outdoor club seating, designated seating for Baylor students and the Baylor band, and an event center and Stadium Club for year-round use
Baylor's Facebook page has some conceptual renderings, and the stadium actually looks pretty stellar. The organic utilization of the Brazos River is a particularly nice touch.
Seriously, this is good news for the Big 12 and for football in the state of Texas. I have continually stated that it is my preference to consolidate power within the Big 12 and/or to keep high school talent in state (with the exception of keeping it away from Texas A&M). Clout from teams like Baylor and Oklahoma St. to go along with the big boys, Texas and Oklahoma, is a mutually beneficial gain.