A Letter from A.D. John Currie - February 26, 2016

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

Today is a big one for K-State Track and Field as the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships are now underway in Ames, and the Cats will be in the chase for both team and individual championships. Among the world-class student-athletes competing for the Cats today will be All-American Akela Jones as the first event of the women's 60-meter hurdles begins at 3:50 p.m. You can follow live results online by clicking here or watch the action here.

In addition to track and field, it is a jam-packed weekend with a number of K-State squads competing around the country as equestrian is on the road facing Georgia and Fresno State today, while reigning Big 12 Player of the Week Ana Garcia Navas and our tennis team are in New York squaring off against Columbia and Memphis, baseball battles No. 5 Oregon State and Utah in Arizona and men's basketball plays tomorrow at No. 17 Iowa State. Be sure and follow k-statesports.com and @kstatesports (twitter) throughout the weekend for results and recaps. Saturday will also be Senior Day for women’s basketball as Coach Mittie’s squad hosts No. 4 Baylor at 3:30 p.m. Come out and support Bri Craig, Megan Deines, Antoinette Taylor and Stacey Malone in their final regular season home game as Wildcats!

Yesterday I participated in the Kansas State University Foundation Board meeting in Kansas City. KSUF President and CEO Greg Willems has just about completed his first year at the helm of the organization and is doing a great job leading and coordinating the overall philanthropic efforts of the K-State Nation, all in support of President Schulz's visionary K-State 2025 plan. Current Chair Rand Berney does a great job with the gavel directing an efficient and productive meeting with KSUF board members from across the country who are providing both extraordinary strategic leadership and generosity that has K-State surging toward the Innovation and Inspiration Campaign goal of $1 billion. Click here for more information about the campaign and KSUF Board.

Theede Family Gift Pushes Phase IIIB Toward Finish Line
Yesterday during the KSUF board meeting and then publicly we announced that longtime university supporters and friends Steve and Kay Theede have made a $2.9 million leadership commitment to K-State Athletics for Phase IIIB of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan and the Ahearn Fund. In recognition of the gift, which is the 26th seven-figure donation to the department since 2009, the club level inside the West Stadium Center will be named the Steve and Kay Theede Club. The Theedes truly exemplify the K-State spirit, and this gift will have a direct impact on all of our student-athletes and K-State’s leadership position in the Big 12 Conference. Since my arrival here at K-State, Steve and Kay have become close friends, and even though they have spent their professional career outside the state of Kansas, they care deeply about the academic and athletic trajectory of Kansas State University. Steve is a 1974 graduate of Kansas State’s College of Engineering and has enjoyed a successful career in the international petroleum industry. You can click here to read our full release on this special gift!

Football Season Tickets on Sale Tuesday
Season ticket renewals for football are hitting the mail, and tickets (including new requests) will officially go on sale on Tuesday, March 1. Full details regarding ticket purchase deadlines, pricing, single-game promotions and more are located here. Season ticket pricing and minimum donation requirements remain the same as 2015, while we also will introduce an innovative new ticket option called the Flex Season Ticket which is fulfilled by mobile delivery the day before each game. To purchase for the first time, or to renew your tickets, please visit www.kstatesports.com/tickets or call the ticket office at 800.221.2287 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. It is important to note the April 23 season ticket priority deadline as well as the deadline to utilize priority points to access tickets for the road trip to Stanford to open the season. It will be an exciting day on September 17 when Phase IIIB at BSFS debuts and the Pride of Wildcat Land plays “Wabash” for the first time from its new showcase stage with a new Northeast video board shining from above the section. The incredibly loud and intimidating atmosphere inside Bill Snyder Family Stadium has helped the Wildcats achieve six straight bowl seasons, and I am excited for the K-State Nation to experience yet another transformational step in the evolution of Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Two Future Non-Conference Football Games Added for 2018, 2022
We have finalized contracts for two additional non-conference football games for upcoming seasons with South Dakota visiting Bill Snyder Family Stadium in 2018 and Abilene Christian coming to Manhattan in 2022. Stay tuned later this spring for additional schedule updates as we continue to finalize future dates with opponents that fit our philosophy and make the most sense for K-State, which includes an ultimate goal of seven home games per year. Here are our upcoming out-of-conference matchups as of today:

2016 – at Stanford; Florida Atlantic; Missouri State
2017 – Central Arkansas; at Vanderbilt; Charlotte
2018 – South Dakota; Mississippi State; UTSA
2019 – TBA; Bowling Green; at Mississippi State
2020 – TBA; Buffalo; Vanderbilt
2021 – Stanford; TBA; TBA
2022 – Abilene Christian; TBA; TBA
2023 – TBA; TBA; TBA
2024 – Arizona; TBA; TBA
2025 – at Arizona; TBA; TBA

Clear Bag Policy for 2016-17
Earlier this week we announced our new clear bag policy that will be implemented at all of our venues beginning next season. Naturally this new step in our continuing efforts to provide as safe an environment as possible for our fans has prompted thoughtful and sincere feedback. We announced this new policy now so that we have plenty of time to educate fans and get the word out, as well as continue to further study all aspects of the policy in case any tweaks need to be made based on your feedback. We plan to produce a video tutorial in the coming weeks with examples of approved and non-approved items – from bags to blankets to weather gear and in-between. I received some very appropriate questions, most of which concerned diaper bags. We love babies and children - we just want them to be as safe as possible in our venues! Remember, each person in your party can carry in a clear bag, which we believe will still allow you to bring all the necessary diapers, formula bottles, and other items needed to enjoy the event. As always, let us know if you have further concerns or questions, and remember to visit our gameday policies page on the website for detailed information and graphics on this topic.

Congrats to Eight Basketball Student-Athletes Named to Academic Team
Earlier this week, eight basketball student-athletes were honored for their work in the classroom as Brian Rohleder picked up First Team Academic All-Big 12 honors for the second straight year, while Bri Craig, Shaelyn Martin, Kaylee Page, Antoinette Taylor, Kelly Thomson, Kindred Wesemann and Jessica Sheble all were named the women’s academic team. Shaelyn and Kelly were the only two members of the 50 Academic All-Big 12 selections with a 4.0 grade point average – congrats to these student-athletes, and we wish them the best of luck on Saturday as the men play at Iowa State and the women look to carry the momentum from a big road win at Iowa State against No. 4 Baylor.

That’s it for today. Thank you for all that you do in support of our 450-plus student-athletes and 16 teams. Check out k-statesports.com and AhearnFund.com for a special announcement as the Ahearn Excellence Campaign was publicly announced just a few moments ago. Help us build on the record-10,000-plus members of the Ahearn Fund spanning all 50 states as we continue to provide a World-Class Student-Athlete Experience.

Go Cats!