A Letter from A.D. John Currie - July 8, 2016

Good Morning K-State Nation!

I trust K-State fans around the world enjoyed a fun Fourth of July holiday celebrating the 240th birthday of our great country. I know folks here in the Flint Hills of Kansas did as I have determined that in addition to being the #1 College Town in America, Manhattan also must rank pretty high in per capita fireworks consumption as the sky lit up three nights in a row!

Back at work this week a new fiscal year has begun and in keeping with our commitment to fiscal responsibility and transparency I am pleased to share this annual report with you on the financial results of this past year as well as a look ahead at our FY 2017 budget.

Thanks to the collective efforts of our fans, donors, student-athletes, coaches and staff, K-State Athletics, Inc., produced a balanced budget in FY 2016 and achieved a surplus for the seventh consecutive year while also setting a new cash contributions record through the Ahearn Fund annual giving program.

The department’s actual FY 2016 cash operating revenue of $77.5 million exceeded our budgeted goal of $70 million. Though our annual outside audit is not yet finalized, operating revenue is expected to significantly exceed operating expense. This positive result, required by bond covenants, along with those of prior years, has helped the department aggressively invest back into all 430-plus Wildcat student-athletes through needed and strategic facility upgrades.

Overall cash gifts to the department in FY 2016 totaled $28.3 million, of which a record $18.1 million was designated for the Ahearn Fund annual giving program which surpassed its goal by $1 million!  Since July 1, 2009, you have contributed more than $200 million in outright gifts, all of which has been directly invested toward K-State’s Vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program.

K-State Athletics remains one of just a few dozen universities nationwide, and the only institution in Kansas, to operate without the use of state tax or university tuition dollars. In the midst of a transformational and challenging time for intercollegiate athletics, which includes many prominent schools across the country recently reporting annual operating deficits and ballooning debt, the collective spirit and support of nearly 250,000 K-State friends and alumni across the country and around the world has enabled the department to experience among the most successful seven-year periods in its history while completing $210 million in athletics facility upgrades in a fiscally responsible manner.

Moving forward, the K-State Athletics, Inc., Board of Directors has approved the department’s FY 2017 budget of $72.7 million, a $2.6 million increase over the previous year’s budget and a $29 million increase from the 2010 budget of $44.1 million. Click here to see both sides of our 2016-17 “Budget Card,” our eighth version of what has become a nationally recognized symbol of K-State’s commitment to transparency in athletics.

Again this year, KSA's largest revenue sources are the combined ticket purchases and contributions from loyal fans and Ahearn Fund donors, targeted at $32.8 million, coupled with $31 million in projected Big 12/NCAA revenue shares. Big 12 revenues have nearly tripled since 2009, but we must always remember that grass-roots participation and dedication of Wildcat fans and donors remains the largest source of support for K-State student-athletes. Thank you!

On the expense side, we again have an increase in our student-athlete support line (up $1.2 million from FY14), which accounts for additional nutritional expenses permitted under recent NCAA legislation allowing institutions to provide additional meals and snacks to student-athletes, while we have an increase of approximately $1.6 million in operating/recruiting costs and $800,000 in scholarship costs as we enter into the second year of providing “full cost of attendance.”

We should all be proud of the leaps forward over the last few years nationally in the quality and real value of the unique opportunity for student-athletes to compete and learn at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics.

I appreciate our coaches and staff for continuing to make budget-conscious decisions each and every day as well as all of Wildcat Nation for filling our stadiums all year long and participating in the Ahearn Fund.

Our annual debt service payment actually will slightly decline this year both in dollar amount and percentage of our budget, while the “Administration" line item for FY17 will be about $4.2 million. Our annual institutional support fee, which we pay to the University to help provide administrative support such as legal services to K-State Athletics, will increase to $475,000 in FY17, while the department will transfer a total of approximately $7.5 million in tuition, fees, support and other payments to the University and affiliated units.

You also may remember that in addition to completing a four-year plan to eliminate $1.6 million in direct institutional support of athletics a year early in 2013, we also plan to assume full responsibility for utility payments for athletic facilities. Direct and indirect university support of athletics was 6.1 percent of our budget in FY10. In FY16 it became zero. Being the only Regents institution in Kansas, and just one of a few dozen nationally, to operate in the black without any state tax or university tuition dollars or subsidies is evidence of our commitment to our second goal, providing Value to the University, Community and State.

We have many great things in which to look forward this coming year. You can see on www.kstatesports.com and our various social media outlets how hard our student-athletes are working this summer to make FY 2017 a great year athletically. Our home sellout streak at Bill Snyder Family Stadium is expected to reach 33 straight games this season – something we certainly do not take for granted – while Phase 3B of the BSFS Master Plan is complete and will debut September 17 in our home opener against FAU. Volleyball returns each and every player from its 2015 NCAA Tournament squad and looks to build upon its 17-win season from a year ago, and we anticipate setting a season ticket record for this fall!

Ticket sales for football (approximately 1,000 tickets remain for each game), men’s basketball and women’s basketball are running ahead of last year’s pace. And K-State Soccer will debut on September 16 as the newest member of the Wildcat sports family opens up at home against Northern Iowa. And there is lots more!
We also have the Olympic Games in Rio this summer where numerous Wildcats will be participating for their home countries, in addition to our own Cliff Rovelto who will be an assistant coach in charge of jumps for Team USA. Stay tuned for more information leading up to the opening ceremonies in Rio.

We have made tremendous progress over the past seven years toward K-State's vision of being a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program, and we look forward to a successful 2016-17 academic year! As we practice Coach Snyder's Goal #3, Unity, let’s make it a great one - and remember, I am always glad to get your feedback so be sure and take advantage of the “Tell John” outlet on our website.

Thank you for your support of Wildcat student-athletes.

Go Cats!

John