Baylor University is a private, Baptist-affiliated research university located in Waco, Texas. It is the largest Baptist university in the world by enrollment. Baylor's men's basketball team is nicknamed the Bears, and the women's team is nicknamed the Lady Bears. Student athletes participate in the NCAA's Division I, and Baylor is the only private school in the Big 12 Conference. Prior to joining the Big 12, Baylor was a member of the Southwest Conference from the conference's charter in 1914 until its dissolution in 1996. Baylor has carried over its rivalries from the now-defunct Southwest Conference, the most important of which are with Texas A&M University and with the University of Texas at Austin.
The mascot of Baylor University is a bear named Judge. Baylor colors are green and gold.
The Ferrell Center is home to the Baylor University Bears basketball. It is a 10,284-seat multi-purpose arena, built in 1988 and located adjacent to the Brazos River. It is named for Charles R. Ferrell, a Baylor student and legacy who died in 1967, and whose family's estate was a major benefactor of the arena. The building replaced the Heart O' Texas Coliseum as the school's primary indoor athletic facility.
The men's basketball program was plagued by scandal in 2003. Patrick Dennehy, a player for the team, was murdered by a former player for the team, and then-coach Dave Bliss was forced to resign amidst allegations that he had made improper financial payments to players and planned to cover his actions by characterizing Dennehy as a drug dealer. The school placed itself on probation, limited itself to 7 scholarships for two years and imposed a post-season ban for one year. Additionally, the NCAA further punished the team by initiating a non-conference ban for the 2005-2006 season and extending the probationary period during which the school would have limited recruiting privileges.
The 2005 Bears were hindered by only having 7 scholarship players and recorded only one win in conference play. In spite of these challenges, head coach Scott Drew was able to put together a 2005 signing class ranked No. 7 nationally by HoopScoop. The 2006 Bears include Aaron Bruce, the highest scoring freshman in the NCAA in 2005, and Mamadou Diene, rated one of the top 10 centers for the 2007 NBA draft.
The Baylor Lady Bears won the NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship in 2005. Coached by Kim Mulkey-Robertson, the Lady Bears defeated the Spartans of Michigan State University 84-62. Mulkey-Robertson became the first women's coach and only the third coach in history to win an NCAA basketball championship as both a player and a coach, joining Dean Smith and Bob Knight.