SE: Fan Support Helps K-State Maintain Budgetary Balance

Kansas State Athletics is in a rare class when it comes to fiscal responsibility, and it can largely thank the Wildcat fan base for helping provide A World-Class Student-Athlete Experience without reaching outside of the department.


With facility additions and improvements a regular sight around the department — totaling $210 million in recent years — K-State Athletics continues one of its most successful financial periods in its history.


The department produced a balanced budget in fiscal year 2016 along with achieving a surplus for the seventh-straight year, K-State Athletics Director John Currie announced Friday.


The department accomplished this without the use of state tax or tuition dollars, making K-State the only institution in Kansas and one of a few dozen across the country to operate without such assistance. This, Currie said in his most recent letter, “is evidence of our commitment to our second goal, providing Value to the University, Community and State.”


Without K-State fans’ commitment and support — totaling more than $200 million in outright gifts since 2009 — the department’s second goal would be near impossible to achieve. Simply put, reinvesting in the 430-plus student-athletes at K-State is made possible by its generous fan base.


K-State Athletics received $28.3 million in cash gifts in FY 2016, including a record $18.1 million designated for the Ahearn Fund annual giving program that topped the year’s goal by more than $1 million.


 “Kansas State University, a Tier 1 Carnegie Research institution located in the No. 1 College Town in America, is so fortunate to have passionate fans that truly care about the welfare of Wildcat student-athletes,” Currie said. “I appreciate Wildcat fans from all walks of life filling Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Bramlage Coliseum, Tointon Family Stadium, Ahearn Field House and Goss Tennis Stadium all year long and participating in the Ahearn Fund, and credit our 170 coaches and staff members for their careful fiscal stewardship of those dollars we are entrusted with each and every day.”


With the department’s cash operating revenue surpassing the budgeting goal for FY 2016 by $7.5 million — $77.5 million to $70 million — the 2017 budget will increase to $72.7 million. For perspective, the 2010 budget was $44.1 million.


A large portion of the budget increase will fall in a couple of key areas for student-athletes.


The student-athlete support line, which includes additional nutritional expenses permitted under NCAA legislation, is now $1.2 million higher than in FY 2014. Scholarship costs get an increase of $800,000 as the department enters the second year of providing “full cost of attendance,” while operating/recruiting costs receive a boost of $1.6 million.


Additionally, the direct and indirect institutional support of K-State Athletics — 6.1-percent of the department’s budget in FY 2010 — has been completely erased.


“The past few years have seen incredible progress nationally in adding even more quality and value to the unique opportunity to study and compete at the highest intercollegiate level,” Currie said, “and we believe that K-State is truly providing A World Class Student-Athlete Experience through not just these financial investments but also the care and attention of our faculty, staff and coaches and passionate support of Wildcats fans.”


K-State's annual debt service payment actually will slightly decline this year both in dollar amount and percentage of budget, while the “Administration" line item for FY17 will be about $4.2 million.  K-State Athletics’ annual institutional support fee, which KSA pays to the University to help provide administrative support, 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.


Currie expects the top-notch fan support to continue, highlighted by the 27-game home football sellout streak that is anticipated to reach 33 by the end of the upcoming season.


Volleyball season tickets are selling at an all-time record pace, Currie also reported, while men’s and women’s basketball ticket sales are ahead of last year’s pace. K-State will also display its newest addition to the Wildcat family when Mike Dibbini’s women’s soccer team opens up its home schedule September 16 against Northern Iowa.

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