Good afternoon Wildcat Nation!
Today we are trying out a slightly different format for my letter - here is your personal update from inside K-State Athletics in a format you may find more convenient to read. Let me know what you think.
Big 12 Conference Update
Obviously we are pleased and encouraged with the strong and positive steps forward by the "new" Big 12. Many K-Staters have asked about how the conference alignment issues affect K-State's academic standing and vice-versa. President Schulz's most recent letter to the campus community is terrific and provides great perspective on this subject.
President Schulz continues to provide outstanding leadership for K-State and the Big 12. Simply put - this is a moment in time which provides tremendous opportunity for K-State to take a great leap forward - academically and athletically.
Among other issues, future scheduling is a predominant issue for the athletic directors of the 10 schools which will comprise the new Big 12. We visited in Dallas last week on this and other issues and will work diligently to finalize our new formats. You've read news stories recently focused on the anticipated nine-game football schedule and the 18-game round-robin slate for basketball and how that affects non-conference competition. We are close to finalizing our 2011 schedule, and I believe that we will be in position to announce it by summer's end.
One of our top priorities is to have seven home games in football as often as possible. This creates a real balancing act with our existing non-conference slate as we will have alternating years with five and four conference home games. I appreciate your patience as we manage the process in the right way to achieve a schedule that makes sense for K-State and our 200,000 friends and alumni nationwide.
Fill the Bill
Today is the final day to purchase $99 Four-Packs to the UCLA football game on September 4, and the athletic ticket office will have extended hours to take orders until 7 p.m. If you haven't already secured your seat in Bill Snyder Family Stadium, we recommend you act quickly. We are expecting 50,000-plus for this nationally-televised contest. Call the ticket office at 1-800-221-CATS, visit k-statesports.com or stop by the ticket office in Bramlage Coliseum to purchase tickets to the season-opener or season tickets for all six exciting home contests. We need you there!
Today marks the final day of the fiscal year and I am proud to say that we fully expect to achieve a balanced budget for 2009-10 when the books are closed. We pledged that fiscal responsibility and integrity would be a top priority for us and through revenue growth, new measures promoting efficiency and cost containment, and the excitement generated by the performances of Wildcat student-athletes, we were able to fulfill that promise. It was a total team effort, from the budget consciousness of our staff and coaches to our fans buying tickets and contributing to the Ahearn Fund and trusting us to be good stewards of their gifts.
This past Monday the KSA Board approved an operating budget of $47 million for the 2010-11 fiscal year, the largest in school history and a 6 percent increase from FY10. Among other items, the budgeted operational increase for FY11 (approximately $3 million) accounts for expenses such as a 3.4 percent increase in tuition and fees (plus a $10 per credit hour fee), a $525,000 football game guarantee net differential, compensation increases for coaches, and various incremental facility upgrades and maintenance along with a previously announced reduction in state funding. (Click here to download FY11 Budget Analysis)
In addition to our ongoing focus on efficiency, we will target continued growth in football and basketball ticket sales, the revitalized Ahearn Fund, and contracted increases from our Learfield media-rights deal as the primary revenue offsets to again achieve a balanced budget in fiscal year 2011.
We will continue to work every day to reach our goal of providing our 420 student-athletes with a world-class experience while we also strive towards our goal of championship-level athletic performances. More than 55 percent of our budget comes from individual private support such as ticket purchases and contributions to the Ahearn Fund, and your participation and support is the winning edge for K-State.
Ahearn Fund Giving Reaches Record Heights
June 30 is also the final day in our 2009-10 Ahearn Fund year. We would like to personally thank each and every Ahearn Fund member for their participation and support as we launched the new and improved annual giving program late last fall. And, we are proud to announce that you stepped up and helped us surpass the 2010 goal and set a record for annual fund cash gifts, currently projected to approach $13 million, by more than 35-percent compared to last year's total. Grass-roots support through the Ahearn Fund remains our largest single source of revenue at K-State and is critical to our ability of providing our student-athletes with a world-class experience. Thank you for your support.
Setting the Standard
I have said numerous times how proud I have been of our staff and how hard they have worked this year. And this month, several of our units received even more proof of the national standard we are trying to sustain here at K-State by bringing home national awards from their respective organizations. Led by Joni Smoller, the Fan Experience and Sales office earned four awards, three of which were first-place honors, at the annual NACMA convention. This included a gold medal in the single-day attendance promotion category for the "Family Reunion" concept for the return of Coach Snyder and season opener, and the top prize for best student promotion for the "Jacob Pullen Beard Night" for the Jan. 18 men's basketball game against Texas. In addition, the department earned first place for its 2009 football season ticket radio promotion "Where Hometown Heroes Become Legends," and third place for its Fort Riley Day newspaper advertisement.
At the annual CoSIDA convention, our Athletic Communications staff, led by Kenny Lannou, earned "Best in Nation" distinction for the men's and women's basketball posters and the women's equestrian media guide, while the media guides for women's basketball (fourth), men's basketball (seventh) and women's rowing (ninth) were all judged among the Top 10 nationally. Congratulations to these groups for their hard work and achievements!
Military Promotion Earns Grant for Women's Basketball
The Fan Experience and Sales office also was instrumental in helping K-State earn a women's basketball grant from the NCAA to help increase awareness, exposure and attendance for the upcoming 2010-11 season. K-State was one of just 12 schools nationally, along with two conferences, to receive the grant. More information will be announced at a later date regarding the execution of this plan.
That's it for now. Enjoy a safe July 4th holiday weekend and...