• The Boys of Lunchtime: Baylor’s Noontime Basketball Association

    Baylor "NBA" in action

    Your seemingly mild-mannered professor may be harboring a secret: He may be a star in the NBA.

    Not the National Basketball Association; the Noontime Basketball Association. For the last three decades, a group of professors, staff members, coaches and friends have slipped away from their classrooms and offices to share in a little basketball glory. The NBA (yes, the players call it that) is just another reason why working at Baylor is so much fun.

    Since the late 1980s, professors and staff members have gathered at gyms around campus to compete, stay in shape, have fun and, of course, earn bragging rights. Does your professor have a double-life living out his hoop dreams in the middle of the workday? He just might.

    Dr. Joe Yelderman, BS ’74, MS ’76, a Baylor geology professor since 1983, has been part of the league since the beginning. He’s now Baylor’s answer to Adam Silver (you know, the other NBA commissioner), and is the man with all the inside scoop on the league.

    “It’s all about the people that are there,” Yelderman says. “We enjoy playing basketball and working out, but there are friendships and relationships built there way beyond that… It gets very competitive. People are accepted no matter their basketball playing level, but people are definitely out there playing hard.”

    It’s pretty incredible that,through three decades of change at Baylor, the NBA has not only survived, but thrived. Staff changes, increased workloads, growing families and added responsibilities in the lives of the players have only served to deepen their attachment to the league.

    NBA games take place each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the SLC. They play to 20, and no one ever sits out more than one game, so every player gets to play three or four games over lunchtime. A dozen current participants have been playing for 15+ years, and this year’s rosters included a few players you might recognize: former Baylor football stars like Nick Florence, BBA ’11, MBA ’13, and Terrance Ganaway, BSED ’10, noted professors such as Francis Beckwith and Jonathan Tran, even women’s tennis coach Joey Scrivano. Past NBA “stars” include Greg Garrett, Lynn Tatum, BA ’76, and Kirk Wakefield, MBA ’81.

    “It’s just like the NBA, minus the talent,” jokes Scrivano, now in his 10th year in the league. The league’s Most Encouraging Player for 2015 (seriously — they have an awards ceremony, with honors voted on by the players), Scrivano says the league provides a fun outlet from the rigors of coaching. “Like a lot of these guys, my job is 24/7. The NBA provides a chance to be active and hang out with the fellas.”

    So go check out the action at the SLC over lunchtime one of these days. You’ll see that, if collegiate rankings are ever decided by a game of staff pickup, we like Baylor’s chances to keep moving on up.

    Sic ’em, Noontime Basketball Association!

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