I believe that it has been about two weeks since my last letter, and certainly this has been a very hectic and fast-paced time for Kansas State University, the Big 12 Conference, our current member institutions, and you our fans. I appreciate everyone's patience and understanding as we worked through the conference developments. Many of you took the time to send President Schulz and me emails and notes of encouragement with suggestions and ideas. Both of us appreciated very much all the feedback and support that we received from Wildcat fans worldwide.
We are all very, very excited about the renewed and earnest commitment to the Big 12 by K-State and our nine conference partners. Together we form perhaps the very best intercollegiate athletic conference in terms of across-the-board athletic and academic strengths. It is going to be exciting to transition over the next few years into our full nine-game conference football schedule and 18-game round-robin slate in basketball.
As we go through the transition process to a 10-team league we'll be working with our conference office and the membership on the inevitable mechanical issues associated with such a transition. In particular there were all sorts of erroneous media speculation regarding financial arrangements and how different schools are affected.
It just so happens that I am writing today's note aboard American Eagle flight 2865, non-stop jet service from Dallas-Fort Worth to Manhattan. As usual just about every seat is filled. There is no question that our three daily flights between DFW and MHK along with the recently-announced AA non-stop service to Chicago have been extremely beneficial for our entire community as well as American Eagle. My hat is off to the community and state leaders and entities who worked together over the last few years to make it happen.
In a response to a reporter's question at our press briefing last Wednesday (INSERT LINK to video) I compared the coalition that brought the American Eagle jet service to Manhattan to our team effort to ensure that all institutions in our conference saw how positive the future of the Big 12 was.
The bottom line is this - we believe that over time all 10 schools in the Big 12 will benefit from our enhanced commitment and platform going forward. All 10 institutions and their respective leaders played and will continue to play important roles in solidifying our conference's place in the intercollegiate landscape.
You can read more of Commissioner Beebe's thoughts at www.big12sports.com.
One thing is absolutely clear: This is going to be one heck of a competitive league!!!
This past year has been a terrific one for K-State. I touched on many accomplishments in my previous letter.
As we seek to stake our place and do our part to add value to our league, we continue to appreciate the support of each and every Wildcat Fan. The next huge opportunity for both Kansas State and the Big 12 is our September 4th football game in Bill Snyder Family Stadium against the Pac-10's UCLA Bruins, which of course will be televised across the nation by ABC.
Through the end of June you can purchase four tickets for this game for the incredible price of $99. We need all Wildcat fans to be there to support Coach Snyder and our student-athletes and show the nation that the Big 12 is alive and stronger than ever.
Both season and single-game football tickets are available for purchase at k-statesports.com or by calling 1-800-221-CATS.
I enjoyed being at Catbacker events in Wichita and Kansas City last week. It has been nice to shift focus back on our student-athletes and accomplishments like K-State's #1 graduation rate in the Big 12. We have a number of student-athletes competing this summer including Nick Martini, who has been invited to try out for USA Baseball National Collegiate Team. Eleven current and former Wildcats will compete at the U.S.A. Outdoor Track and Field Championships this weekend in Des Moines. We are also proud that Ashley Sweat and Jack Sachse were named as recipients of the 2009-10 Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarships.
Thanks for your continued support and Go Cats!