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Letter from A.D. John Currie - August 5

Good Afternoon K-State Fans!

It's great to be back in Manhattan and ready for the start of a new semester following a nice family vacation with Mary Lawrence and the kids. We drove 15 hours on Saturday to get back to MHK just in time for me to visit with our football team Sunday afternoon as the squad begins fall camp. Despite the heat, Coach Snyder and the team are hard at work preparing for the August 30 season opener. Just as they have been all summer our skilled athletic training staff is omnipresent to help ensure a safe training environment, and this August our team is able to utilize our new Ahearn Fund Performance Table for all camp meals. The support of all our fans, donors and Ahearn members is enabling K-State Athletics to take big strides toward our goal of A World-Class Student-Athlete Experience. Hats off to Chef Mike and the Sodexo team who are working hand-in-hand with K-State Athletics staff nutritionist Scott Trausch to prepare delicious and nutritious meals for our student-athletes! 

Last night, I had the opportunity to head over to Topeka for the annual Catbacker banquet, and this year's crowd was big and fired up as always! With just a few more stops the annual tour is coming to a close, and we thank the thousands of fans, supporters and organizers of all of our Catbacker clubs for making this year one of the best yet.

Thanks to the efficiency of our local board of elections volunteers, it only took me a few minutes to cast my ballot for today's state and local primaries which has enabled most of the day to be spent in pre-construction meetings with Populous and Mortenson/GE Johnson as we plan for the upcoming construction of the new Vanier Football Complex. With construction set to begin immediately following this season there are lots of decisions to be made in a short period of time and each meeting I am more and more excited about the transformative effect the VFC will have on the entire program and stadium.

Friday evening I am really looking forward to visiting with our volleyball team and their families at their annual dinner as Coach Fritz's team reports for fall camp. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to get to know our new volleyball players by clicking here for their outstanding profiles with K-StateHD.TV and K-State Sports Extra editor Kelly McHugh.

Before I duck back into the Legends Room for more of our construction meeting, here are a few more updates from around the department.

Big 12 to Host Athletics Forum in NYC
Tomorrow morning I will hop on one of our five daily American Airlines flights right out of MHK and head to New York City to participate in a forum on the state of intercollegiate athletics, hosted by Commissioner Bowlsby and the Big 12 Conference. A broad-based panel from college athletics and the sports media will participate in this event, which will be moderated by NBC's Jimmy Roberts. The landscape of intercollegiate athletics is sure to change in the near future, and this event will provide one of the first opportunities for individuals from all viewpoints to express their thoughts on some of the issues that we face. For those who are interested, click here to watch the event live beginning at 3 p.m. CT on Wednesday.

President Schulz Heading to NCAA Board of Directors Meeting Thursday
Thursday August 7 is not just my sister Lauren's 40th birthday, but it's also the day President Schulz and the seven-member NCAA re-organization steering committee present their final recommendations for voting approval by the full NCAA Board of Directors. Among the improvements proposed by the steering committee is the provision for more autonomy in specific matters by the five more visible conferences including the Big 12, SEC, ACC, Pac-12 and Big 10. We should all be grateful to President Schulz for the tremendous amount of time and leadership he has provided in this process. These changes in governance are very important to our continuing desire to better meet the needs and realities of the 21st century student-athlete and our institutions.  Click here to read this story from the NCAA about the upcoming meetings.

New Partnership with Vivid Announced/Football Ticket Update
Earlier this week we announced a new agreement with Vivid Seats, the nation's largest independently owned and operated marketplace for live event tickets, for secondary market ticket options to Wildcat events. Among the highlights from which our fans will benefit include the elimination of fees for all electronic ticket transfers, making it easier for ticket buyers to send tickets to friends, family, customers, etc., or to post for sale on Vivid Seats, as well as much faster payment of proceeds for sale of tickets on Vivid Seats vs. our previous service -- Powercat Ticket Exchange. This new partnership between K-State Athletics, K-State Sports Properties and Vivid also provides a financial upside to K-State Athletics which has the ability to grow as K-State fans purchase from Vivid after using links from k-statesports.com. With 13 straight football sellouts and four years of paid attendance over 12,000 for men's basketball, as well as the continued evolution of the secondary ticket market, it is important for us to be strategic in this area and offer K-State fans a wider variety of inventory than Powercat Exchange, great customer service and no up-front membership fee to purchase tickets. Click here for more information on this new service. And speaking of tickets, we are well on our way to extending our home sellout streak at Bill Snyder Family Stadium to 20 games! With a record number of season tickets being purchased we currently have only a limited number of single seats remaining for the Texas Tech (Oct. 4), Texas (Oct. 25), Oklahoma State (Nov. 1) and KU (Nov. 29) contests and standing-room only tickets for games against Stephen F. Austin, UTEP, Texas, Oklahoma State and Kansas.

Fan Appreciation Day Set for August 16
Details for our annual Fan Appreciation Day, sponsored by Academy Sports and Outdoors, were also announced this week. This year's event will take place on Saturday, August 16, and fans are asked to park on the west side of the stadium and enter through Gate B for the event, which begins at 5 p.m. Seating will be open on the west side in Sections 1-9 as fans can watch the final hour of practice. Concessions as well as merchandise from the K-State Super Store at the Stadium will be available. Following practice, Coach Snyder and the 2014 team captains will address the crowd prior to a one-hour autograph session on the field with players and coaches. To enable as many fans to get an autograph as possible, we ask you to limit the number of autographed items to one per person and encourage fans to provide their own item to be signed. I can't wait for kick-off August 30!

Former Wildcat Great Richmond to be Inducted in Basketball HOF
Former Kansas State basketball standout and Wildcat legend Mitch Richmond will become the fourth person with K-State ties to be enshrined as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame when he is inducted this weekend. Richmond will be a part of a 10-member 2014 class that will be officially welcomed into this elite fraternity on August 9 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Senior Director of Development Mike Clark and former Wildcat coaches Lon Kruger and Dana Altman will be among those in attendance to support Mitch and his family on this special occasion. Click here for more information on the induction weekend.

Volleyball Earns Team Academic Award
With the 2014 season getting underway Friday with the start of workouts, the 2013 squad earned one last accolade this week as it was honored for the fourth straight year with the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award. The award honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade point average on a 4.0 scale. Congrats to Coach Fritz and our team on another terrific year in the classroom!

Fort Riley Partnership Continues to Grow
We are very fortunate here at K-State that our student-athletes, coaches and staff have the opportunity to experience, learn and benefit from our ever-growing partnership with nearby Fort Riley. Most are aware of our annual Fort Riley Day at Bill Snyder Family Stadium and all of the activities that surround the annual football game, but the most rewarding part of our partnership has been to watch members of our athletic teams and their respective partner units build lasting friendships and form common bonds despite such different backgrounds and experiences. We currently have partnerships with 10 of our athletic teams with the hopes of continuing to build on that number to include all of our teams. This past year, more than 2,000 soldiers and their families attended a Wildcat sporting event, and we will continue to grow that number. We truly appreciate all that members of the Fort Riley community do for our country and are fortunate to call them our partners. Click here for our most recent Fort Riley feature which included a PT workout with members of our football team.

That will do it for today. Thank you for all that you continue to do in support of our student-athletes and all of our programs.

Go Cats!

John