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Letter from A.D. John Currie - July 5

Good Afternoon K-State Nation!
 
I trust you enjoyed a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July.  Our family enjoyed a full day of activities here in Manhattan capped off by some incredible fireworks displays around town!
 
Supposedly the summer used to be a time when things slow down, but here at K-State we have a great deal of action on-going about which I want to bring you up to speed.  As I pulled into the parking lot this morning, various excavators, back-hoes and dump-trucks were already prowling the site of the West Stadium Center at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Speaking of the West Stadium Center, we are humbled to announce that K-Staters have responded to the $5 million anonymous challenge pledge announced earlier this spring, matching and exceeding that amount, now pushing total funds committed to the project to over $53 million towards the total goal of $75 million!
 
Meanwhile in the business office, June 30 marked the end of the 2012 fiscal year.  You'll recall that three years ago we launched the K-State Pledge for fiscal transparency and unveiled our five core goals to become a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program.  Today, I would like to provide a budget update both on fiscal year 2012 as well as our plans for 2013.
 
I am pleased to report that for the third straight year we will have achieved a balanced budget when we finish closing the books for FY12 later this summer and in fact will be able to report that revenues have exceeded expenses for the third consecutive year.  Through your support and participation as ticket holders, another record year for the Ahearn Fund (more on that later), and the excitement generated by the performances of Wildcat student-athletes, we have been able to fulfill the promise of fiscal integrity and transparency that we made three years ago.  As I have said many times, the grass-roots support of our fans provides us a unique advantage and nothing reflects that any more than when you make it to Manhattan to be a part of capacity crowds at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Bramlage Coliseum, Ahearn Field House, Tointon Family Stadium and all of our other venues.
 
In keeping with our pledge for transparency, I am also pleased to share with you our projected revenue and expense budget for FY13 which has been approved by the Board of Directors of K-State Athletics, Inc. (KSA). Thanks to your support we are able to continue to re-invest in the student-athlete experience for all 16 of our teams as well as make steps to achieve our goal of having the best fan experience in the Big 12.
 
KSA's operating budget of $58 million for the 2012-13 fiscal year will be the largest in school history and represent a 12.7 percent increase from FY12.  Among other items, the budgeted operational increase for FY13 (approximately $6.58 million) accounts for expenses such as scholarships; compensation increases for coaches; various facility enhancement projects; an increase in our debt service facilitating construction of the West Stadium Center and Basketball Training Facility, as well as additional upgrades to our K-StateHD.TV video production capacity as we continue to explore ways to promote our teams and student-athletes to our world-wide Wildcat family.  It is important to note that this operational budget of $58 million does not include our capital fundraising revenue (i.e. gifts specifically for the Basketball Training Facility and West Stadium Center) as well as construction costs paid specifically from those capital funds.
 
Here are some specific examples of your dollars in action in support of our five core goals of our vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program:
 
• To progress towards our goals of "A World-Class Student-Athlete Experience" and "Championship-Level Athletic Performances," we have been able to increase our sports operating and recruiting budget by 18% since FY10.  The majority of this increase has been to fund salary and compensation increases for our coaching staffs.  Travel costs continue to increase as well.  For example, this coming football season we will have five round-trip charters for our football team versus 3.5 in 2011

• You will notice that our net game guarantee costs (the money we spend to have non-conference football, basketball, volleyball and baseball games in Manhattan) have increased significantly, roughly doubling vs. last year and increasing by nearly $2 million since FY10.  After inheriting schedules with just six home football games in 2009 and 2010, we returned to seven games last year and appear to be in a pattern now where seven games can be the norm, although we will have eight in 2013.  Playing contests in Manhattan certainly helps our competitive desires as well as addresses our goal of providing "Value to the University, Community and State."

• Our $5 million facilities maintenance line-item includes a major resurfacing of the East parking lot at Bill Snyder Family Stadium scheduled for spring 2013, helping to achieve "The Best Fan Experience in the Big 12," as well as student-athlete experience upgrades such as a new rowing practice facility which continues our commitment to Title IX and history of expanding opportunities for female student-athletes.

• Direct university support of intercollegiate athletics drops to $750,000, or 1.29% of the budget in FY13, as we continue our phase-out program to enable those dollars to be used for critical academic needs in support of President Schulz's visionary K-State 2025 goal of being a Top-50 public research university.
 
In addition to our ongoing focus on efficiency, we will continue to target growth in the Ahearn Fund and ticket sales, as well as Big 12 revenue growth, as the primary revenue offsets to again achieve a balanced budget in fiscal year 2013.  Collectively the individual Ahearn Fund contributions and ticket purchases by our fans make up 51% of our revenue while 32.6% of our FY13 budget will come from the Big 12/NCAA. Obviously, we are very excited about the future we have in the Big 12 Conference and are experiencing growth due to the Big 12's television, bowl and other contracts. TCU and West Virginia officially joined the conference this past Sunday and with the Champions Bowl alliance with the SEC, along with our established place in the post-season football play-off discussion, the Big 12's trajectory is solid.
 
Click Here to Download FY13 Budget Analysis
 
We continue to work every single day to providing our 440-plus student-athletes a world-class experience while also striving for championship-level athletic performances. Again the individual private support such as ticket purchases and contributions to the Ahearn Fund -- continues to be the winning edge for K-State.  We are grateful for your participation and will continue to honor you with careful stewardship of the dollars you entrust to K-State Athletics.  Here are some additional updates from this busy summer!
 
Watkins Makes Run at U.S. Open
Former K-State golfer Aaron Watkins wasn't content with just making the cut at the recent 2012 U.S. Open in San Francisco as he went on to finish in a tie for 15th place, ahead of many big-name PGA professionals such as Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler.  I enjoyed watching Aaron on national television over the course of the weekend, especially seeing him don his K-State purple during Thursday's opening round.  Congrats to Aaron on a fine performance and for representing K-State with such class.
 
NCAA Champ and London Bound!
High jumper Erik Kynard not only defended his NCAA Outdoor high jump title earlier in June by leaping 7-feet, 8-inches in Des Moines, but he followed that up with a strong performance at the U.S. Olympic trials two weeks ago in Eugene.  With his second-place finish at the trials, he earned a spot on the Team USA roster for the London games in August!  To have a current student-athlete in the Olympic Games is yet another testament to the leadership and reputation that Coach Rovelto has in the track and field world.  In fact, all three high jumpers to make the U.S. team are tutored by Coach Rovelto, a feat that has never happened in U.S. high jump history.  In addition to Kynard, Wildcat Nation will also be rooting for Jeffrey Julmis of Haiti (110-hurdles), Beverly Ramos of Puerto Rico (3,000 steeplechase), Korene Hinds of Jamaica (3,000 steeplechase), plus Austra Skujyte of Lithuania (heptathlon) - all of whom earned a spot on their respective Olympic rosters.  Good luck to all of these Wildcats in London!
 
Another Wildcat to Lead Big 12 SAAC
For the second straight year a K-State student-athlete was elected to serve as the Big 12 SAAC Vice Chair.  At last month's Big 12 SAAC Meeting/Leadership Summit in Lubbock, men's golfer David Klaudt was chosen to lead the group in 2012-13 and will take over for Victor Ojeleye, who served in this role for 2011-12.  All six of our student-athletes who attended this event - Tre Walker (football), Sam McKnight (track and field), Brian Rohleder (men's basketball), Aly Bronder (rowing), Kathleen Ludwig (volleyball) and David - had a terrific time learning, enhancing leadership qualities and interacting with their fellow Big 12 counterparts.
 
K-State Student Goes Viral on YouTube
For those who have not seen this, click here for the story of senior agricultural communications and journalism student Greg Peterson and how he and his two brothers used social media to promote not only his industry but also K-State.  As of today, more than 3.1 million people had viewed his video, "I'm Farming and I Grow It."
 
K-Staters Step Up Again, Set New Total Giving Mark
And speaking of the Ahearn Fund, our fans, alumni and friends stepped up once again in financial support of our student-athletes this year to set a new record of $25.8 million for total gifts to the department, a number that has doubled since FY2009.  Thanks to the grass-roots support of K-State fans world-wide, Ahearn Fund membership also grew by 12% to finish the year at an all-time high of 7,866.  If you are not already a member, please consider joining the Ahearn Fund for as little as $50 per year.  These gifts are designated for scholarships, sports medicine, academic support, modernization of facilities and other services that directly benefit all of our student-athletes while also funding our margin of excellence through enhancements such as recruiting budgets and coaches salaries.
 
And How 'Bout That Catbacker Tour!
K-State support is exemplified during the annual Catbacker tour, and this year has been one of the best ever.  With 29 events complete and just a few to go, over 6,000 Wildcat fans have attended this year, hearing from terrific K-State coaches and student-athletes.  It's a great cooperative venture between local Catbacker groups, the K-State Alumni Association and K-State Athletics.  Special thanks to Lon Floyd, Wyatt Thompson, Mike Clark and Gavin Hargrave for their leadership out on the "circuit" in addition to all of the coaches, student-athletes and local Catbacker club volunteers for their time and hard work this summer.  Most universities are down to just a handful of events, but the spirit at K-State is stronger than ever!
 
That will do it for today. Enjoy your July, but with both our basketball teams back in their summer workout regimen and Coach Weber's team beginning its NCAA-allowed 10 special practices in advance of a trip to Brazil in August, as well as Big 12 football media days coming up on July 23, remember that another exciting year of K-State Athletics is just around the corner!  
 
Thanks for all that you do to support your K-State student-athletes.

Go Cats!


John Currie