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K-State Today

May 18, 2011

Letter from A.D. John Currie talks about ending direct university financial support of intercollegiate athletics

Submitted by Cheryl May

Good morning Wildcats!

It's exactly two years to the day since I was introduced as your athletics director. Our family loves living in Manhattan and being part of the K-State nation!

This week has been just like the last 104 ... busy! I've enjoyed being in Dodge City for the Catbacker tour kickoff event, attending an alumni association event last night before our baseball game in Wichita and am currently making a quick trip (thanks to one of four daily flights by American Airlines out of MHK) to see a few donors, a bowl partner and attend to some other long-range planning business before returning for the Kaw Valley Catbacker event and our baseball home finale against KU Friday night.

Yesterday, President Schulz and I announced a three-year plan to end direct university financial support of the intercollegiate athletics program. Although direct university support of intercollegiate athletics represents 3 percent of our annual KSA budget, gradually redirecting this $1.5 million annual funding back into critical academic needs will help protect the overall excellence of the K-State educational experience in these difficult financial times.

We are in position to take this step thanks to the strong annual support of Ahearn donors and, indeed, every K-State fan, as well as the new Big 12 Fox television contract. You can read the full press release from yesterday's announcement by clicking here.

Last weekend, 36 of our student-athletes received their degrees from Kansas State University. Christa Bowman, who was competing with our rowing team in Tennessee last weekend and unable to attend commencement, was honored by our nationally-recognized College of Architecture, Planning and Design with the Interior Architecture and Product Design Student Leadership Award. For student-athletes such as Christa who miss commencement due to competition, the university holds a separate private graduation ceremony for family and friends so they can have the opportunity to walk across the stage and receive their degrees.

On the same weekend Erik Kynard and Ryann Krais captured Big 12 titles in the high jump and 400m hurdles, respectively, both on the heels of Wildcat tennis phenom Petra Niedermayerova becoming just the second player in league history to win both Big 12 Freshman and Player of the Year honors!

We are also proud of our coaches, support staff, campus faculty and student-athletes for their commitment to academic success, which is evidenced by the latest APR data released earlier this week by the NCAA. While the full report will be announced next week, we are pleased to inform you that our women's golf and women's basketball programs received APR Public Recognition distinction for posting multi-year APRs in the top 10 percent of all squads in their sport. Stay tuned next week as more good news is on the way!

As we move into the summer months, it is a terrific sight to walk into Bramlage Coliseum each morning and see the progress being made on several facility projects around the complex - the new infill AstroTurf surface is coming along great, while progress continues on the east side upper deck restroom addition at Bill Snyder Family Stadium and the Basketball Training Facility.

We still have a few teams competing this spring as our baseball team completed a three-game sweep of New Orleans on Sunday. Our rowing team bested KU last weekend in a strong performance at the conference championships, and our track teams are gearing up for a run at top-20 NCAA honors.

That's it for today. Remember sign up for our FREE daily K-State Sports Extra email for all of the latest news and information regarding Wildcat Athletics and follow K-State Athletics on Twitter (@kstatesports) and Facebook (K-State Sports) through your social media platforms.

We look forward to seeing you all out on the Catbacker tour this summer and also at 6:30 p.m., Friday night at Tointon Family Stadium for Senior Night against the Jayhawks!

Go Cats!

John Currie