It's Big Monday in Manhattan! We look forward to seeing a packed Bramlage Coliseum tonight as we host Baylor at 8 p.m. in our first of two home games on ESPN's marquee weekly telecast.
Here are a few updates from the department as the spring semester kicks off and many of our athletic teams get back into competition.
Fall Honor Roll
We have terrific student-athletes here at K-State - individuals that perform at the highest level both on the field and in the classroom. In addition to four years running with the No. 1 all-sport graduation rate in the Big 12, more than 50-percent of our student-athletes (215) were named to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll for the fall 2010 semester, including 23 that have cumulative 4.0 grade-point averages!
Texas and ESPN Agreement
Last week, the University of Texas announced that it has reached an agreement with ESPN to create its own network for its third-tier programming. With its state population and history, Texas is really in a unique situation and I congratulate K-State graduate and Texas AD DeLoss Dodds on his tremendous leadership of the Longhorn program.
Much has been written and speculated about what this means for K-State and the Big 12 in general. Above all, we are reminded that the popularity of college sports programming is reaching an all-time high, a sign that bodes very well for the Big 12's upcoming television package renewal negotiations. In addition to being an active participant in the Big 12's primary process, we at Kansas State will also continue to look at our third-tier television rights and explore the best possible scenarios that will allow for increased exposure and distribution of Wildcat Athletics. Stay tuned for more this spring!
Basketball Training Facility Update
We are excited about the progress of our basketball training facility project and again are grateful to those who have contributed to help make this a reality. The bidding process has officially begun and if all goes well we plan to award the contract for the project in the next several weeks with groundbreaking following shortly thereafter. Again, this project is a top facility priority for us as a department and we appreciate the support shown by Wildcat fans in making it happen.
The NCAA just announced its latest football attendance figures for 2010 and thanks to your support this past season, K-State ranked 21st nationally and fifth in the Big 12 in terms of percentage of capacity filled for the entire season! Our average attendance of 49,816 was the highest in school history for a six-game schedule, included four sellouts, and reflected 99.63 of percent capacity in 2010. We appreciate your support of our student-athletes by attending ballgames and hope to see you April 30 at the spring game.
Bowl Ratings and Super Bowl Note
We recently received a complete list of the television ratings from this past bowl season and the Big 12 Conference had three of the Top 10-rated games, six that were in the top 50-percent of the ratings and our Pinstripe Bowl matchup had more than 3.5 million viewers, which was higher than 17 other games of the bowl season. On another note, I'm sure many of you had a watchful eye on this weekend's NFC Championship game featuring Green Bay and Chicago - pitting Jordy Nelson's Packers against Joshua Moore's Bears. We were guaranteed one former Wildcat to advance to Super Bowl XLV and we wish Jordy and the Packers the best on February 6.
Spring Sports Update
Both basketball teams are in the midst of their conference schedules, while our tennis and track and field programs have started spring competition in the past few weeks. Coach Rovelto's men's team is ranked 20th nationally and high jumper Erik Kynard currently has the nation's top mark in the event this season! Coach Bietau's charges opened the season with two home wins this past weekend, the equestrian team begins its spring portion of the schedule on Saturday at Oklahoma State and National Signing Day for football is coming up next Wednesday. Be sure to check out k-statesports.com on February 2 for all of the latest information on Coach Snyder's 2011 signing class.
That will do it for now. Let's pack Bramlage tonight for Big Monday and we will see you back at 2 p.m. Saturday as Coach Patterson and the women's team battle KU in the Sunflower Showdown presented by Dillons. Saturday also marks the Kansas Sesquicentennial so come cheer on the Cats and celebrate 150 years of this great state!