By Michael Martinez
A single, yellow rope is all that holds back hundreds of rowdy, game-frenzied freshmen, all eager to rush the field (and heckle the opposing team). Some are garbed in gold and yellow wigs, face paint, and other Baylor paraphernalia. The one thing this group of underclassmen has in common is their yellow football jerseys, emblazoned with their graduating year. They are the Baylor Line.
Among the many traditions at Baylor University, the Baylor Line is easily one of the most recognizable. The freshman-oriented spirit organization, the Baylor Line, began forty years ago in an attempt to motivate more people to come to football games. In 1993 women were allowed to join the Baylor Line, which set the standard for today. Any prospective students that receive their official acceptance letters into Baylor University and become official Baylor freshmen gain membership into the Baylor Line.
To make it to the front of the line, however, takes a bit more effort. Rachel Pinkerton, one of the two co-chairs for the Baylor Line and a member of the Baylor Chamber of Commerce, mentioned that the students who reach the front of the line often skip tailgates and other events just to reach the gate first. “Generally speaking, the students who are at the front of the line are the loud people who have the body paint and the face paint,” she said. “It’s something that they make an effort to be at the stadium early and get into the gate.”
Freshmen afraid of getting trampled or hurt in the midst of the massive rushing field should put their fears to rest. “Getting hurt on the field doesn’t happen as often as people may think,” said Pinkerton. “We really try during Line camp in the summer to press on the students that there are going to be nearly 2,000 students on the line running the field and to be conscious of those around you.” Emergency medical teams are also always present at the home games, should any accidents ever occur.
Students remain members of the Baylor Line past their freshman year, and they are encouraged to continue wearing their Line jerseys at football games. The actual rushing of the field, however, is limited to the freshmen alone. “We have about 2,000 students who have jerseys currently, and having a body of 14,000 students charge the field would just be very overwhelming,” says Pinkerton. “It would take away from the freshman experience.”
The Baylor Chamber of Commerce, the parent organization of the Baylor Line, hasn’t forgotten the upperclassmen though. “The most current and up to date way we are marketing toward the upperclassmen is through the on-campus tailgating,” said Pinkerton. The Baylor Line has introduced a new tailgating option for Baylor students this year. The on-campus tailgate will premiere on the first open conference game on October 2, and will be located on campus as opposed to Touchdown Alley. “There’s going to be music and free food, and the option to buy more Baylor apparel as it’s located just outside the Baylor Bookstore,” she said.
If you have any special memories or photos of the Baylor Line, send them in to the Baylor Alumni Association. If you would like to experience the stampede of the Baylor Line, click here.