Good Afternoon Wildcat Nation!
It's time for Big 12 Conference play as both our football and volleyball programs are now entering league action. Coach Fritz's No. 11 volleyball squad is off to a 12-1 start and will host Nebraska-Omaha tomorrow at 3 p.m. in Ahearn before welcoming West Virginia next Thursday night, September 27, for the Mountaineer's first-ever Big 12 contest in Manhattan. Let's be sure and pack the house to show our visitors from Morgantown what Big 12 volleyball is all about!
Coach Snyder's 13th-ranked football team is ready to travel to Norman for the first-ever FOX Big 12 national prime time "Game of the Week" broadcast. Saturday's 6:50 p.m. national broadcast is a great platform for our university and athletics program. Many of our fans have noticed the cross-promotion of this game when watching FOX's NFL games last Sunday which is an example of the broadened reach and exposure for both K-State and the Big 12 resulting from this partnership.
Before we jump into some additional updates from this week, I want to take a few moments to thank you for your continued support of K-State Athletics. Because of your loyal support, we have been able to enhance the student-athlete experience for all 458 student-athletes in our 16 programs.
A core K-State Athletics goal is to offer the Best Fan Experience in the Big 12 each time you visit Bill Snyder Family Stadium or any of our athletic venues. Over the past several months, a number of K-State fans have made significant commitments to help make the West Stadium Center at Bill Snyder Family Stadium a reality and construction on the $75 million Phase II project is underway and tracking for an August 31, 2013, completion.
However, we do not plan to stop there. As we continue to gain momentum and maintain our forward trajectory as a national leader in college athletics, we are already studying potential components for Phase III of the BSFS Master Plan, including fan experience improvements like a new north end zone video board, south end zone concourse improvements and services as well as an improved sound system and other additions.
In our commitment to fiscal responsibility we also have to plan for how to fund these improvements and anticipate utilizing support from three primary sources for these important fan experience upgrades: (1) Big 12 Conference television revenue, (2) leadership donor gifts, and (3) new Ahearn Fund annual contributions achieved through growth in Bill Snyder Family Stadium priority seating program.
Over the past several months, and in conjunction with the volunteer Ahearn Fund Advisory Group, we thoroughly examined the Ahearn Fund priority seating levels for Bill Snyder Family Stadium and the best options for assisting with the funding of these additional fan experience improvements.
Beginning with our eight-game home schedule in 2013, some seating sections will see an increased Ahearn Fund priority seating annual gift requirement, while others will see a decrease or elimination of the previous Ahearn Fund priority seating contribution as we seek to offer a wide-range of options to provide access to as many members of the K-State family as possible. For example, approximately 9,500 seats that were purchased as season tickets in 2012 will see a $25 - $50 per seat Ahearn Fund contribution increase (83% of all current season tickets holders will realize an increase of $50 or less), while 1,600 seats will see a decrease or elimination in the per seat Ahearn Fund contribution.
Over 17,000 (40%) of the public seats in Bill Snyder Family Stadium will still not require a per seat Ahearn Fund contribution, and all season tickets holders that request a move to a section with a lower per seat Ahearn Fund contribution will have their request filled first - prior to any new season ticket holders, additional ticket requests, or seat upgrade requests. Even with these adjustments the average priority seat donation levels in Bill Snyder Family Stadium will still be less than most of our peers in the Big 12 Conference.
Additional information will be sent to affected football season ticket holders in the coming days. After you receive the information, if you have any questions, please contact any of our Ahearn Fund staff members at 888-232-9074 as they will be happy to assist you and answer any questions that you have. In addition, the Ahearn Fund staff will be traveling throughout the state over the next month to be available to personally answer any questions you may have. Detailed information regarding dates and locations will be coming soon.
Please know that no decision to adjust the Ahearn Fund priority seating contribution levels is ever taken lightly. In fact, this is only the second adjustment since Ahearn Fund priority seating levels were instituted in 2002. Improvements to the fan experience at Bill Snyder Family Stadium directly impact K-State's ability to "pack the house" and showcase the pride and passionate environment that the Wildcats are known for world-wide. We value the financial commitment that each fan makes when purchasing a football season ticket and supporting the Ahearn Fund and that loyalty represents the grass roots support that drives the success of our programs.
Before we head to Norman for the big game, here are some additional updates from around the department:
"Neighborhood Coffee with the AD" Debuts in Manhattan
It's always important to have personal contact with our fans and hear their thoughts, concerns and questions, but it is especially important as we make necessary adjustments together to continue our positive momentum. Earlier this month, we held a neighborhood coffee event at the Colbert Hills Clubhouse to provide western Manhattan area residents with an opportunity to talk one-on-one about K-State Athletics. A great crowd was in attendance and the "tour" will be coming to a neighborhood near you! Watch for dates and times coming soon.
Ahearn Fund Appreciation Event Enjoys Record Crowd
More than 3,000 people attended the Ahearn Fund Member Appreciation Day last Saturday prior to the North Texas game, more than twice the number that attended last year, and setting a new all-time high. It was a beautiful day and we have received nothing but positive feedback from those that attended. Throughout the day, Ahearn Fund members were treated to visits by the men's basketball team, women's basketball team, baseball team, Wyatt Thompson and the K-State marching band, spirit squad and Willie. I also enjoyed the opportunity to attend the event and thank you for your loyal support. The event continues to grow each year and is accomplishing the goal of allowing us to show our appreciation to all Ahearn Fund members, at every level, for all that you do for K-State Athletics.
Klein to Appear on ESPN College GameDay
Earlier this week, ESPN anchor and sports personality Scott Van Pelt made a trip to the Little Apple to visit with quarterback Collin Klein for an ESPN College GameDay feature. The crew made several stops around town and campus, so be sure and check out the three-minute segment this Saturday morning between 9-11 a.m. on ESPN. We have so many great stories to tell here at K-State, and the show is a terrific platform to do so. Both ESPN and Sporting News also ran great national stories on Collin and our team Thursday. We are proud of our football team under the leadership of the greatest head coach in the nation and appreciate how each of our players, coaches and staff represent Kansas State University.
Galvan Runs to Win in Lincoln
Congratulations to sophomore Laura Galvan for her victory last weekend at the Woody Greeno Invitational in Lincoln. Laura led our women's cross country team to a third place finish in the race while the men finished seventh in their second meet of the season. Next action for Coach Smith's squad is September 29 at the Rim Rock Classic in Lawrence.
Tennis Opens Season in Lawrence
Coach Bietau and the women's tennis team will kick-off their 2012 fall schedule this weekend in Lawrence at the KU Invitational. Coach Bietau welcomes back a roster that features three seniors, a junior and two sophomores which includes a pair of nationally ranked players in Petra Niedermayerova and Karla Bonacic. Action will begin today and wrap up Sunday, so check out k-statesports.com for all of the results from the weekend.
That will do it for today. With two weeks until our next home football game, terrific progress continues on the West Stadium Center, while the Basketball Training Facility is nearing completion. Check out a couple photos taken this week that show the entryway to the men's locker room and also the paint being applied to one of the practice courts. This facility will be first-class in every way, and we are excited to officially open its doors in just a few short weeks.
Good luck to all of our teams in action this weekend. As always, we sincerely thank you for your continued support of K-State Athletics. Go Cats!