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Letter from A.D. John Currie - December 8

Wildcat Nation,

Greetings from 36,000 feet as I type from seat 24D on my way from New York to Chicago to catch a flight to Wichita and tonight's Wildcat Classic at INTRUST Bank Arena.

We are excited to have a capacity crowd for the matchup with future Big 12 foe West Virginia on ESPN2 at 8 p.m.  Thanks are in order to Mayor Carl Brewer and the greater Wichita community for the warm way they have welcomed both teams.  This afternoon our legendary Alumni Association CEO Amy Button Renz was present for Mayor Brewer's naming of "Wildcat Way" outside the INTRUST Bank Arena.

It has been a busy several days for the Wildcat nation!  While our staff back in MHK has been working tirelessly on bowl preparations, on Monday Coach Snyder, Sean Snyder, senior DB Tysyn Hartman, Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou and I went to NYC for the annual National Football Foundation events and dinner.

This year's dinner was extra special for all of us as Tysyn was recognized as a National Scholar Athlete and Campbell Trophy finalist. He and the other 15 National Scholar Athletes were seated on the main dais and all individually were introduced with accompanying video highlights, prior to the induction of this year's college football hall of fame class.  Kenny did a great job of getting both Tysyn and Coach Snyder around to numerous national media appearances and interviews.  It was awesome to see the K-State flag hanging above the stage of the Waldorf-Astoria's ballroom - fitting considering the great job done by Tysyn and his teammates and Coach Snyder his staff of returning K-State football to national prominence.


The accolades continue to roll in for K-State football, including numerous coach of the year awards for Coach Snyder and many of our student-athletes being selected for various national and Big 12 honors.


On Monday and Tuesday I attended Big 12 meetings.  It was great to have future Big 12 ADs Oliver Luck (West Virginia) and Chris Del Conte (TCU) in the room for the first time.  Both Oliver and Chris bring great perspective, experience and enthusiasm into the league.

Among the items we discussed was the future of our men's basketball tournament, and as you may have read, the ADs unanimously affirmed the continuation of the men's basketball tournament in Kansas City.  Our upcoming Sprint Center game against Alabama on December 17 will be another great opportunity to paint KC purple and mark K-State and Big 12 territory!

Obviously Dallas-Fort Worth is also Big 12 territory and we couldn't be more excited and honored to represent our league in the AT&T Cotton Bowl on January 6. Our game against No. 6 Arkansas is one of only four bowls to feature Top 10 matchups and is easily one of the hottest tickets of the bowl season.  Our players and staff are excited to play in what most consider to be one of the most historic and tradition-rich bowls in the finest stadium in the world, and I know they will enjoy the tremendous experience produced by Cotton Bowl President Rick Baker, Chairman Tommy Bain and his legendary staff.


Also while in New York Kenny and I attended the IMG Sports Business Journal's Intercollegiate Athletics Forum.  Yesterday I was a member of a discussion panel of five athletic directors, including Stanford's Bob Bowlsby, Darryl Gross of Syracuse, Cheryl Levick from Georgia State, UCLA AD Dan Guerrero and Washington's  Scott Woodward.  Naturally, among other topics of the day we were asked by the audience and moderator and spent a good bit of time talking about was post-season college football.  Since my comments from the Forum have subsequently been included in a number of national media stories, let me take a moment and summarize my views and opinions.


First, I am not a proponent of a multi-round college football playoff system.  While it would certainly be interesting for fans, I do not think it is in the best interest of our football student-athletes.  Generally the season is long enough considering the physical demands of the game and the fact that the players are indeed supposed to be students first.


I do continue to appreciate the bowl system, which in its best aspects provides the players, cheerleaders, band members, and general university and alumni community with a unique and rewarding experience and enhances the spirit and national visibility of the institution. 

We must remember that the BCS system, of which we have been a willing participant, was created to help ensure a post-season matchup between the top two teams in the country.  Generally this goal has been accomplished.  And, there is no question that the "eligibility" requirements for "at-large" teams to be selected into the BCS bowl games have helped provide access to schools that previously had no opportunity to participate. 


Indeed, the existing BCS "ranking" formula can continue to be tweaked and improved with the goal of providing more objectivity and focus on current season accomplishment.


And, as I attempted to articulate yesterday when asked at the SBJ Forum, the BCS "label" has grown so prominent that attaching it to specific bowl games has the effect of making those games "better" in the minds of the student-athletes and public alike, and thus perceptively has come to represent a higher level of accomplishment.


In that regard I believe that the next step in the evolution of the system is either to use the BCS "ranking" to slot all the at-large spots in the games, or, simply cease to use it at all, except of course to determine the participants in a game between the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams.


Essentially, we, the universities and conferences, are the primary "owners" of the BCS label.  It is our responsibility to protect the perception of transparency and integrity in our game.


Now, back to the on-court business!  Following two big wins in the NCAA Tournament, including the huge upset win at No. 2 Nebraska, Coach Fritz and the volleyball team are in Hawaii for the Sweet 16.  We wish the Wildcats all the best in their Friday night matchup with Pepperdine at 9 p.m. CST which you can watch on www.espn3.com and listen online at www.kstatesports.com or KMAN 1350 AM  for those of you in the Manhattan. 

Congratulations are also in order to junior guard Brittany Chambers who joined the 1,000 point club in last night's women's basketball win over Wichita State.

 
Speaking of Wichita - in the course of writing this I changed planes, arrived here at the INTRUST and its time to go inside and see the 'Cats face the Mountaineers. 

Thanks for your tremendous support of K-State student-athletes.  Our fans truly are the best.

Go Cats!