A Letter from A.D. John Currie - April 13, 2016

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

With just four weeks remaining until exams, campus is buzzing with activity and K-State spring sport student-athletes are kicking into high gear for the stretch run. Sunday saw baseball and tennis have breakout wins over Texas and West Virginia, respectively, while we have eight spring football practices in the books with the Purple and White game coming up on April 23 back in Bill Snyder Family Stadium at our traditional 1:10 p.m. kick-off time. Recently Coach Snyder announced the 2016 team leadership council (click here). It has been an honor to get to know these young men over the last few years - I couldn't be more proud for our University to be represented by this group. And don’t forget about the annual Powercat Auction which will take place the evening prior to the spring game. We have a limited number of seats still available for purchase by calling the Ahearn Fund office at 888-232-9074.

Remember that K-State will kick off the 2016 season with a historic trip to battle Stanford and early Heisman Trophy favorite Christian McCaffrey on Friday, September 2, 2016. Click here for ticket information. I know that between the thousands of K-State Alumni living in California and the passion of our fans around the country we'll turn Stanford Stadium Purple. However, we encourage you to act now to get your tickets as total stadium capacity is 50,424, and we expect to sell completely out of our ticket allotment of 3,000. Orders placed by next Friday, April 22, receive priority seating locations. As always, we will work to obtain as many tickets as possible for the K-State faithful and will continue selling tickets until the allotment is sold out, but we do anticipate a sellout occurring in the next few weeks – much, much earlier than typical road contests! So, if you plan to attend on Sept. 2, please call the ticket office as soon as possible to secure your spot!

K-State's award-winning Alumni Association is once again offering a special travel package with guests enjoying a special wine tour in Napa Valley and San Francisco Bay accommodations. Click here for more information.

Season ticket renewals continue to be very strong as the April 22 deadline approaches – we can't wait for a packed season opener on September 17 as our BSFS sellout streak will reach 28 games! Thank you for your role in ensuring an awesome home field advantage for K-State student-athletes!

Here's a few more updates and some interesting items from around college sports:

K-State Across America
I have been on the road quite a bit over the last several weeks including stops in Topeka, Kansas City and Arrowhead Stadium for the Centurions lunch yesterday with Deputy AD Laird Veatch, and Dodge City, Garden City and Oakley last Thursday with Associate AD Andrew Hamor. It is great to see the Purple flying throughout our state! I enjoyed visiting the newsrooms of both the Dodge City Globe and Garden City Telegram and with respective sports editors John Zetmeir (a former Collegian sports editor) and Brett Marshall.

Earlier last week I used our early AM American Airlines flight out of MHK connecting through DFW to Mississippi to see Coach Robbins and the men’s golf team in action at Old Waverly, just outside of Starkville. Congrats to junior Matt Green for his fourth-place finish! The trip gave me a good chance to check out recent facility upgrades at both Mississippi State and Ole Miss while visiting with my good AD colleagues and friends Scott Stricklin and Ross Bjork, respectively.

Back home in MHK this past Friday we had a great visit from former Big 12 Commissioner and proud K-State alum Kevin Weiberg. Kevin and I were able to visit with Dr. Ron Trewyn and get an NBAF update and also tour the Phase I building of the new KSU Office Park, home to the KSU Foundation, with KSUF COO Greg Lohrentz. The KSUF is creating innovative partnership opportunities for companies looking to build on the momentum and world-class scientific research synergies just across the street from the NBAF site in the Office Park. Garmin, GE Johnson Construction, US Engineering, and Veterinary and Biomedical Research Center are already present as the lead partner occupants of the KSU Office Park! Phase II is being leased now to corporate tenants with a restaurant, patio and balconies overlooking BSFS & Vanier Family Football Complex. For more information click here.

Wall Street Journal Valuations Provide Interesting Perspective
As an old history major I definitely don't have the mathematical background to completely understand the formula the Wall Street Journal recently used to assign monetary value to men's basketball programs, but these ratings are interesting to consider and also provide an outside perspective on the strides we continue to make in gaining national recognition of the growing power of the K-State brand. As you can see the WSJ has us valued 29th overall nationally and third in the Big 12 behind the Jayhawks and Texas.

Speaking of men's basketball, congratulations to rising senior Wesley Iwundu for being named team MVP at Monday evening’s banquet. I am excited to have Wesley and DJ Johnson leading our squad next season – and it is great to see our point guard Kamau Stokes back on his feet after his freshman season-ending injury way back on January 30. Click here for an excellent story on Kamau by Kellis Robinett of the KC Star/Wichita Eagle.

Satellite Camp Ruling Generates Buzz
You may have seen last week’s announcement from the NCAA Division I Council that the highly sensationalized recent proliferation of football satellite camps has been halted. Effective immediately, college football coaches can only work or appear at their own university's camps and clinics, and such events must be held at school facilities or ones regularly used by programs.
 
I believe this is the right move by the Council but only if we now immediately move to work with football stakeholders, perhaps including the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), FBS conferences or CFP, high school athletic associations and even potentially the National Football Foundation (NFF) to create a platform for systematic regional clinics or camps conducted in a fashion that will give aspiring college football players around the country exposure to multiple college coaches and the incredible (and monetarily valuable) access to higher education the sport provides.
 
It is important to remember that the NCAA Division I Council, which voted in this legislation, is a product of last year's governance reform intended to give practitioners more influence and pragmatic ability to shape college athletics for the 21st century. Indeed the Council is made up of 40 total members comprised of athletic directors, faculty athletic representatives (FAR), etc., AND for the first time in the history of the NCAA, real current student-athletes! Big 12 Council representatives include Commissioner Bowlsby, Brian Shannon (FAR at Texas Tech), Tim Day (FAR at Iowa State) and Rachel Scott, a student-athlete at Texas.
 
Naturally there have been a few passionate headline-grabbing reactions for and against this particular Council decision and action, but I believe we need to respect the time, effort and thought of our Council members and give our new system a chance to succeed. I'm sure this will be a significant topic of discussion at our Big 12 AD meetings in Phoenix and DFW next month.

Former Wildcat Great Bob Boozer Named to Collegiate Basketball HOF
Former K-State great Bob Boozer was among eight individuals named recently to the 11th class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Boozer, the only two-time consensus All-American in school history, was joined in the 2016 Hall of Fame induction class by fellow players Mark Aguirre (DePaul), Doug Collins (Illinois State), Lionel Simmons (La Salle), Jamaal Wilkes (UCLA) and Dominique Wilkins (Georgia) as well as coaches Hugh Durham (Florida State/Georgia/Jacksonville) and Mike Montgomery (Montana/Stanford/California). He is the third person with K-State ties to be named to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, including the second men’s basketball player, following his legendary coach Tex Winter (2010) and Rolando Blackman (2015). Click here for our full release.

KBOR Visiting MHK Next Week, Hard at Work on K-State Presidential Search!
Next week K-State will welcome the 10 men and women who volunteer countless hours to lead higher education in our state as members of the Kansas Board of Regents. KBOR members will spend two days on our beautiful campus, and we look forward to hosting our Regents for a tour of the brand new Vanier Family Football Complex and dinner in the West Stadium Center. It is anticipated that the KBOR will announce appointments for the K-State presidential search committee during their visit. I wish to especially thank Regent Dennis Mullin, chairman & CEO of Manhattan's Steel & Pipe, for taking on the critical task of chairing the search to replace our outgoing president Kirk Schulz. Dennis is a selfless and dedicated leader and proponent for Manhattan, K-State and the state of Kansas, and I am completely confident that his efforts will lead to a tremendous result.

That’s it for today. Best of luck to all of our teams in action this week, including the equestrian team at the 2016 NCEA Championships which begin Thursday in Waco, Texas. Remember to visit k-statesports.com and all of our social media channels to follow up-to-the-minute results from this week.

Thank you for all that you do in support of our 450-plus student-athletes and 16 teams.

Go Cats!

John