Currie to Speak on Knight Commission Panel

MANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State Athletics Director John Currie, whose seven-plus years as Athletics Director has produced record growth and financial stability along with outstanding academic performance and athletic accomplishment, has been invited to be a featured participant at next month’s Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics meeting in Washington, D.C.

Currie, University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst, University of Idaho President Chuck Staben and James Madison Athletics Director Jeff Bourne will serve as panelists on October 24 at the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum to discuss the changing financial landscape in college sports and the role football plays in shaping this landscape.

The Knight Commission, which promotes reforms to emphasize the educational mission of college athletics, will discuss ways to ensure focus is maintained at a time of big changes in college sports with the possibility of more radical changes to come.

A 2013 UnderArmour AD of the Year award winner, Currie and his K-State leadership team have turned an inherited budget deficit into national acclaim as one of the NCAA’s most financially solvent programs and completed $210 million in comprehensive facility improvements benefitting all 16 Wildcat teams, all privately funded with zero 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 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.

K-State student-athletes have shined academically as all programs remain above the NCAA .930 APR standard with eight teams leading the Big 12 in last two years, including football. K-State’s all-sports graduation rate also currently exceeds that of the general student body.

On the field, Currie’s seven-year tenure has included six straight bowl berths under Hall of Fame head coach Bill Snyder, team Big 12 Championships in football (2012), men’s basketball (2013) and baseball (2013), 16 team NCAA tournament appearances in men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and baseball, and 50 individual Big 12 and nine individual NCAA Championships.

Since 2009, K-Staters 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 use of state tax or university tuition dollars. Direct and indirect university support of athletics was 6.1 percent of the KSA budget in FY10. In FY16 it became zero.

Follow @KnightAthletics for the latest developments from this meeting, and photographs and highlights will be posted on following the event.

About the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics
The Knight Commission was formed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in October 1989 in response to highly visible scandals in college sports. The Commission’s goal is to promote a reform agenda that emphasizes the educational mission of college sports. Over the years, the NCAA has adopted a number of the Commission’s recommendations including the rule that requires teams to be on track to graduate more than 50 percent of their players in order to be eligible for postseason competition. The Commission’s  Athletic and Academic Spending Database provides financial data for more than 220 public Division I institutions to provide greater financial transparency on athletics spending.