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Letter from A.D. John Currie - October 11

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

It's been a busy few weeks since I last wrote, and we have a big weekend on tap! Before we head into our updates from around the department, I want to share some important information about our 2014 football schedule.

Last week, UT-San Antonio formally notified us that it intended to cancel the game scheduled in Manhattan on September 27, 2014. Although the contract will require UTSA to pay a cancellation fee of $500,000 (which will be offset if we elect to cancel the return game to UTSA in 2015), the more significant issue, given this late date, is the scarcity of available opponents for our third non-conference game in 2014.

Football scheduling is a complex affair. Generally all institutions want the same thing -- home games. Over the last 10 years the number of teams willing to travel without requiring a return game to their stadium has plummeted. We were glad to get the original UTSA deal done in March 2010 because it provided us two FBS games in MHK and one game in San Antonio.

Current NCAA rules allow us to count one win against an FCS (formerly I-AA) team toward the bowl eligibility requirement of six wins, while the minimum other five victories must come against FBS-level teams. There are 124 FBS schools, including of course, K-State. You will recall in 2009, Coach Snyder's first season back, we inherited a schedule with two FCS games -- which meant that our 6-6 (4-4 Big 12) team wasn't eligible for a bowl despite playing its best football in the last half of the season. Certainly we strive each year to be in a position where this minimum requirement does not come into play, but given the student-athlete opportunities and extra practice advantage provided by bowl qualification it is our responsibility to consider this factor in our scheduling.

With UTSA's cancellation we currently have two remaining 2014 non-conference games. On August 30 we are scheduled to host FCS member Stephen F. Austin, while September 20 will see the long-awaited return trip by Auburn to Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The Big 12's nine-game full round-robin schedule is a tremendous asset but adds some rigidity to the process to achieve our goal of seven home games. In "odd" years (2013, 2015, etc.) we play five Big 12 games at home and four on the road. In "even" years (2012, 2014, etc.) we flip that with four at home and five on the road.

Thus, in "even" years we strive to have all three of our non-conference games at home. In "odd" years we want two of our non-conference games at home (to couple with the five home Big 12 games) and then have the flexibility with the third to play on the road with an opponent which will make a return trip for a future game in Manhattan, or we can play a neutral site game, or, depending on our circumstances and team availability, we could schedule an eighth home game.

For instance, we decided in March 2012 to contract UMass for a single game in Bill Snyder Family Stadium for the fall of 2013. We made that decision (and a $750,000 investment) knowing that we had a senior-laden team in 2012 and thus would be breaking in many young and inexperienced players in 2013. UMass, an FBS "counter" was available and willing to travel with no return obligation on our part.

With K-State season ticket holders from 46 states traveling back to Manhattan for K-State games we also absolutely understand the impact of home games for our local businesses, economy and sales tax collections. K-State usually has among the most home games in the conference -- about half of the Big 12 teams typically have a maximum of six home games in their home stadiums because they play a neutral-site game annually. We have seven contracted home games for 2015 and already have two of our three non-conference home dates locked in for 2016.

A final unknown factor is the new College Football Playoff system taking effect with the 2014 season. Strength of schedule will absolutely be a more tangibly recognized factor in seeding the four-team championship series. Thus, just like in college basketball, the collective strength of our conference is interdependent on the non-conference schedule and non-conference record of our 10 members. However, until the committee is announced (likely in the next month) and then defines its criteria and formula, we don't know yet exactly how to figure this.

So, as we work to resolve this situation and fill our last game over the next month please know our first priority is to have a home FBS game. If we end up with a second FCS game it will be because there were simply no viable FBS options available. And, if we end up traveling to an FBS opponent it will be because we gain a return opponent to MHK for a future season. Regardless of whether we have six or seven home games, our 2014 schedule will be an exciting one with Texas, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Kansas visiting MHK along with the previously mentioned SFA and Auburn from the SEC! We are grateful to our fans for our eight-game home sellout streak (which will increase to nine Saturday and 13 by the end of the season) and are proud that K-State attendance is up by 6 percent this year compared to a national trend that has seen a 3 percent decline for college football attendance! Special thanks as well to K-State students who have purchased a record 9,500-plus football season passes, up 19 percent from 2012!

And now let's get back to the present and focus on some big activities this weekend and a huge nationally-televised FOX game against No. 15 Baylor.

Hall of Fame Weekend Ahead
The weekend will be full of activities beginning tonight as we induct 10 new members into the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony, set to begin at 7:30 p.m., can be seen live on K-StateHD.TV! Re-engaging this process is an important goal in our vision of being a model intercollegiate athletics program, and we are happy to welcome these newest members of the hall of fame fraternity back to K-State! Click here for more information on the Class of 2013.

The 10 inductees will also take part in a public "meet and greet" from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. tomorrow, allowing fans the opportunity to mingle and obtain autographs. The event will take place in the "public tent" of Cat Town, located on the south end of the west parking lot. As a reminder, all fans have access to Cat Town when the parking lots open 5 hours prior to each home game and can enjoy food and beverages along with many other activities.

FOX Sports1 College Football Tour Heading to Manhattan
Also tomorrow, FOX will not only be in town to broadcast the 2:30 p.m. football game against No. 15 Baylor, but FOX Sports1 is also hosting its day-long "road show" from the east side of Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The set will be located at the north end of Lot 9 -- the grassy area adjacent to the stadium's east parking lot -- and fans are encouraged to participate in the various activities FOX Sports1 will provide while also serving as a backdrop to the live look-ins the network is scheduling during the FOX and FOX Sports1 college football programming, which airs from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday. Click here for more information on the event, and let's show the nation why our fans are best and most passionate in all of college football!

Stats/Hustle Boards at BSFS Fully Operational
I have had numerous emails and conversations with fans over the last several weeks regarding the stats boards on the south end of Bill Snyder Family Stadium being out of commission. I am pleased to report that thanks to the diligence and hard work of our staff, the boards are back in business and will be in full operation on Saturday against Baylor!

Basketball Scrimmage Tomorrow
Come out to Bramlage Coliseum before tomorrow's football game for your first look at this year's men's basketball team as Coach Weber and the squad will hold a free scrimmage from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Fans will also have the opportunity to purchase season tickets during the scrimmage at the Select-A-Seat event. Tags will be placed on available seat locations and ticket representatives will be stationed on the west concourse near sections 9 and 10 to process ticket orders or answer questions from interested fans. Current season-ticket holders are also invited to attend to upgrade their existing seats or add additional tickets to their account. Come on out and support Coach Weber and the defending Big 12 Champs!

Saturday will also see volleyball heading to Oklahoma for a 7 p.m. match, while women's golf will be in Iowa competing on Saturday and Sunday. Our equestrian, tennis and rowing teams resume play next weekend, while both basketball teams continue to prepare for the 2013-14 season which is less than a month away!

And, as one final reminder, tomorrow is Harley Day in Bill Snyder Family Stadium so come early, be loud, and...

Go Cats!

John