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Letter from A.D. John Currie - June 15

Good morning Wildcats!

We trust your summer is off to an enjoyable start -- it's already been an action-packed month here on campus as we push to the end of the fiscal year and prepare for 2011-12.  The new infill artificial turf in Bill Snyder Family Stadium looks awesome and many of our student-athletes have told me how much they like the feel of the new surface.  If you ride by the east side of the stadium you can see that the upper-deck restrooms are about to get their roofs and the contractor will soon begin cladding the new structures with Flint Hills limestone.  And of course, the final excavation is almost complete for the Basketball Training Facility!

Here are a few more updates for you:

NCAA Track and Field Championships
This past weekend in Des Moines, Cliff Rovelto's track and field teams put a huge exclamation mark on what has been one of the most successful athletic seasons in K-State history! Not only did both of our teams finish in the Top 20 (women 13th; men 16th) but junior Ryann Krais and sophomore Erik Kynard both captured NCAA titles in the heptathlon and high jump, respectively, and a total of 12 student-athletes earned All-America honors! Click here to read the full release from this past weekend.

The World's Best in MHK!
Remember, the 2012 Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships will be in Manhattan next May 11-13. Our staff is already pre-planning to produce the event which will feature many student-athletes from throughout the conference whom you'll watch on television later that summer competing in the Olympic trials and London games! This event will provide our athletics program, university and community a terrific platform to showcase the city of Manhattan, Kansas State University and K-State Track and Field as we continue to provide a world-class experience for our student-athletes and fans.

A Model Program
I am really proud of our student-athletes and coaches - five team NCAA Championship/postseason appearances (football, men's and women's basketball, women's cross country, baseball), an equestrian Reserve National Championship, the Big 12 Player of the Year and a school-record for wins in a season in tennis, and two National Champions in track and field - all while maintaining the No. 1 graduation rate in the Big 12 for four straight years!

Big 12 Updates
Two weeks ago, President Schulz, Faculty Athletics Representative Be Stoney, Associate AD/SWA Jill Shields and I were in Kansas City for the annual Big 12 meetings.  By now you have probably read the news of the unanimous decision by the Big 12 Board of Directors to share equally all the revenue from the new FOX television contract.  This increases the percentage of conference revenue shared equally from approximately 57 percent to an all-time high of 76 percent while continuing to offer our progressive formula enabling each institution to earn additional revenue based on appearances and performance.  Over the past two years we have talked about "growing the pie" so all institutions received a larger share --this significant development certainly enables that while at the same time all of our institutions and student-athletes will see greatly increased exposure.

Other notable items discussed at the meetings included:

∙ The sports of rowing and equestrian have been added as conference-sponsored sports with official Big 12 championships.  This is an exciting step for K-State as we field teams with more than 125 student-athletes wearing the Purple and White in these sports.

∙ The women's basketball championship will move back to Wednesday-Saturday dates and eliminate the day-off.

∙ Both basketball championships will feature a 2-4-2-1 format with the four lowest seeds playing opening-round games.

Two of our five core goals towards our vision of being a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program are to offer a World-Class Student Athlete Experience and the Best Fan Experience in the Big 12. The "new" Big 12 is united and in a strong national position moving forward into the 2011-12 year and beyond.  

Doing the Right Thing
There have been several good national articles about a letter my good friend, Arizona AD Greg Byrne, recently wrote to his fans asking for their help in ensuring adherence to NCAA rules.  Certainly college athletics has been in the news in lots of ways over the last several weeks.  Compliance-related situations illustrated in the national headlines remind us all about how vulnerable we are to just one bad decision and how devastating the consequences can be for an institution's national reputation.  We take our responsibilities as they relate to NCAA compliance very seriously -- in education, monitoring and enforcement. I've been so impressed how many K-Staters reach out and ask questions related to compliance whether in regards to prospective student-athletes, extra benefits or other issues.

If you ever have a concern, see or hear something that just doesn't seem right in these areas I encourage you to contact us directly.  You can reach our Associate Athletics Director for Compliance Jamie Vaughn (jvaughn@kstatesports.com or 785-532-3990) or my office directly at kstatead@kstatesports.com or 785-532-6912 any time you have a compliance-related question.  

The K-State Nation Steps Up!
Today is the Ahearn Fund priority deadline and thanks to your generosity we are on track to exceed the 2011 goal of $12 million -- I'm so grateful to have a big stack of thank you letters to sign each night welcoming new members from all over the country!  Each and every one of you makes a difference for our 465-plus student-athletes by participating in the Ahearn Fund. Contact the Ahearn Fund office at (888) 232-9074 for more information or to visit with one of our staff members.

Also, encourage your K-State friends to stay connected with K-State Athletics by signing up for our FREE daily K-State Sports Extra email at k-statesports.com for all of the latest news and features on Wildcat Athletics.  Every day more social media fans sign up to follow K-State on Twitter (@kstatesports) and Facebook (K-State Sports).  

That's it for today. Thanks for all you do and Go Cats!

John Currie