Letter from A.D. John Currie - December 4
Big 12 Title Implications in Waco/Bowl UpdateFollowing last week's big win over the Jayhawks, our sixth-straight Sunflower Showdown victory, Coach Snyder and our football team head to Waco on Championship Saturday to face Baylor with the winner clinching at least a share of the Big 12 title! It will be a great platform for the Big 12 as ESPN College Gameday will originate from Waco for its uber-popular morning show, and I know our fans in the area will show their Purple Pride this weekend in Waco! Regardless of Saturday's outcome, our team will be playing in a terrific bowl game this year, and I would like to remind fans that tomorrow is our pre-order deadline for bowl tickets to all potential games - click here for more information. K-State's rich history of fan travel to bowl games plays an important role in bowl committees' selection process, and this year will be no different! We won't know for sure where the Cats are headed until Sunday afternoon when the College Football Playoff pairings are announced, followed by the "New Year's Six" games and then our partner bowls. Should we be fortunate to come out with a win on Saturday against Baylor, we would be in a great position for a "New Year's Six" bowl selection - which is made by the CFB Committee - most likely to either the Goodyear Cotton Bowl in Dallas or the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta's Georgia Dome. The next scenarios would be the Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio (vs. Pac-12) or Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, which is the ACC's top non-CFP bowl destination. Best of luck to Coach Snyder and the Cats this weekend, and once all of the games have been played and the dust settles, we know the Wildcats will be bowling for the fifth straight season in a location that our fans will greatly enjoy!Remember, ordering your contingent tickets by Friday's deadline helps K-State ensure the best possible destination for our student-athletes and ensures that you receive your full location and access priority!Wide Receiver Duo of Lockett/Sexton Earn Academic HonorsShortly after we officially accept a bowl invitation on Sunday, a small contingent of our staff, including Coach Snyder and senior Tyler Lockett, head to New York City as Tyler will be a special guest of the National Football Foundation at its annual Hall of Fame awards dinner thanks to his recognition as a National Scholar Athlete and Campbell Trophy finalist. He has had an amazing season, both on the field and in the classroom, and I know he, his family, coaches and all those in attendance next week will be proud to be a part this experience and special recognition.Congrats are also in order to his fellow senior wide receiver, Curry Sexton, who was named an Academic All-American this week! Out of 15,000+ FBS college football players, Curry is one of just 50 to make the Academic All-America list. And, he's a pretty darn good player too!Hoops Teams Back in Action This WeekBoth basketball teams are back in action this week beginning tonight with the women's game against Texas-Arlington. The game will tip at 7 p.m. and will be televised by FOX College Sports. In last week's letter I referenced an unfortunate ending to our women's team's tournament in Mexico due to a conflict between the event organizer and facility. We are evaluating our options to recoup some of the expenses incurred for the trip but the most detrimental aspect was that our team missed out on two competitive games early in the season as the players continue to get accustomed to our new coaching staff and each other. We have added one additional game to the schedule as the women's team will now face William Jewell at 7 p.m., this Monday at Bramlage. All fans will receive free general admission seating throughout the arena as well as free parking to Monday night's game. Fans are encouraged to bring a canned food item or make a monetary donation at the door to the Flint Hills Breadbasket. Meanwhile, following a big win over Omaha at home on Tuesday, the men's team will head to Knoxville, Tennessee, this weekend to face the Vols as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge, which got off to a great start last night as Texas Tech defeated Auburn. The game will tip at 2:15 p.m. CT and be televised by ESPN2.Big 12 Announces New Student-Athlete InitiativesOn Monday, the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors announced a series of reform measures that will continue to address and ensure the overall well-being of our student-athletes. Among the benefits included are the full cost of attendance, multi-year grants, and continuing education. Here at K-State we already have in place our Second Wind program, which for a number of years has helped former student-athletes to finish up their degrees, while the other two reform measures will greatly benefit our student-athletes as the ever-changing landscape of college athletics moves forward. While some of the details of such improvements are yet to be determined we do know that the end result will mean that the overall experience for our student-athletes will be better than it has ever been. Click here for the conference's full announcement.Update on Implementation of Women's Soccer ProgramSince our announcement on October 13 that we would be discontinuing intercollegiate equestrian following the 2015-2016 year and adding women's soccer (click here for press release link), our staff has been very busy, both in supporting our equestrian student-athletes and coaches in their ongoing competitions and beginning the process of planning for our new soccer program.The response and interest in K-State women's soccer has been incredible. We have had more than 100 inquires about our new head coaching position from all levels of college and professional soccer as well as numerous contacts from high school players interested in considering K-State. The next order of business in the process is to hire our head coach which we anticipate doing around the first of the year. A big factor in the selection process for our new head coach will be his or her's presentation of how they plan to manage the start-up process -- recruiting strategies and timetable, etc.We are currently planning to play our first season of Division I competition in the fall of 2016 and then a full Big 12 schedule in the fall of 2017. A Division I soccer program can award 14 scholarships with roster sizes averaging 27.2 participants. Typically start-up programs will phase in their scholarships over a few years as to have an appropriate balance of classes (i.e. freshmen, sophomores, juniors, etc.). From a financial standpoint K-State will continue its commitment to a World Class Student-Athlete Experience with a Big 12-level soccer budget.Of course we are maintaining our same operational budget for equestrian in our last 18 months of competition as well as honoring all the scholarships of our current equestrian student-athletes through their four years of eligibility. This year we have 15 equestrian scholarships spread among 47 student-athletes. We have a relatively small senior class, so in 2015-16, our last season of competition, we would anticipate having at most 44 equestrian student-athletes on aid. In 2016-17 we are planning for roughly 40 equestrian student-athletes receiving aid, and in 2017-2018, we will have approximately 19 equestrian student-athletes on aid.Thus, we will have an overlap period of scholarship and operational expenses for the two sports. Some line-item expenses, for instance recruiting, are no longer needed in equestrian and those resources will thus be allocated for soccer. We have also begun our facility planning for soccer and in a future letter we'll have more to share on this as well.Before we close today, I would like to take one more moment to thank everyone who made the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Vanier Complex become a reality. The movers have begun the transitioning phase of the current facility and demolition of the complex is on schedule for next week. And, thank you to all the fans who helped K-State set a new season average attendance record of 53,081. Let's build on our 20-game sell-out streak in 2015!Have a great week, and we will see you inside Bramlage tonight for hoops and hopefully either Lincoln for volleyball or Waco for football this weekend!