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K-State Today

July 16, 2013

A letter from A.D. John Currie: Goal No. 3 of our Vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program

Submitted by John Currie

Good morning, K-State Nation!

It's time for installment No. 3 in our five-part series reviewing progress toward our Vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program, introduced July 10, 2009, along with our five core goals of:

• A World-Class Student Athlete Experience
• Value to Our University, Community and State
• Integrity and Transparency in Matters of Ethics, Finance and NCAA Compliance
• Championship Level Athletic Performances
• The Best Fan Experience in the Big 12

Last week we covered goal No. 2 — Value to the University, Community and State — and today we focus on goal No. 3 — Integrity and Transparency in Matters of Ethics, Finance and NCAA Compliance.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Publishing a detailed budget for the upcoming year is an important component of our transparency pledge. We'll continue the tradition after we complete this five-part series this month.
  • You will notice in the fiscal year 2014 budget that our administration line item will be about $3 million, down from $4 million in the FY 2013 budget. This past year we completed the final payments for our inherited contractual obligations with former employees. You may recall that we were able to settle the lawsuit with a former coach in FY 2011 and have also retired our inherited operating deficit in the university aircraft account. It is great to have those steps behind us and be totally focused on the future!
  • For the fourth straight year we will report a budget surplus. When we arrived in June 2009 the projected FY 2010 budget showed a $2 million projected budget deficit. Thanks to our terrific staff and coaches, who continue to make budget-conscious decisions every day in the best interest of K-State, and new departmentwide measures promoting efficiency as well as fundraising success, we were able to turn that projected deficit into a first-year surplus of $5 million.
  • Producing a surplus each year enables us to do four things: 1) Invest in our facilities — we've initiated $125 million in upgrades. 2) Invest in our people — we've dramatically improved our ability to retain and reward our coaches and staff. 3) Invest in our programs — our student-athlete welfare, sports medicine and academic support. Our operating budget has risen from $44 million in our first year to $60 million this coming year. 4) Be a self-sufficient unit and stronger partner. We covered much of this in the goal No. 2 letter. Since February 2010 we have been reducing the $1.6-plus million in direct university cash support KSA was receiving at that time. We eliminated this subsidy effective June 30, 2013.
  • This success has not gone unnoticed and, in fact, has helped reshape the national image of K-State's position and viability in intercollegiate athletics. In May 2011, USA Today recognized K-State as one of just 22 athletic departments in the nation to operate with a surplus in 2009-10 and one of only five to do so while decreasing expenses from the previous year. USA Today recently cited K-State as one of just 23 programs nationally which generated enough money on its own to cover expenses in 2012.
  • So what does having a surplus mean? We were vividly reminded during conference realignment over the past few years that we can never take our position for granted. Reinvesting our surplus as we've described helps ensure that K-State can always be a viable member of the highest level of intercollegiate athletics while avoiding the significant annual deficits, debt and huge institutional subsidies plaguing a number of athletic departments at major public universities which have been well publicized in recent national stories. In fact, even the international finance industry has acknowledged our progress. The two most widely recognized financial rating firms, Moody's, and Standard and Poor's, regularly review Kansas State Athletics' financial position. Moody's rates Kansas State Athletics bonds as long-term stable/A1, while Standard and Poor's rates Kansas State Athletics bonds as long-term stable/A-. These strengthened ratings reflect significant improvement since 2009 based on many factors such as strong operating ties with the university, continued improvement in financial operations and, thanks to our fans, strong fundraising support.
  • You also deserve transparency to see how your dollars are invested in great people, and following President Schulz's lead, we include contractual details in our coaching staff announcements and post copies of personnel contracts at www.k-statesports.com with their initial hiring press release.
  • My friends poke fun at me for it, but I carry our semi-famous K-State budget card in my pocket so I that I can communicate quickly and accurately with fans, donors and even media, regarding our finances, vision and goals.
  • We will continue to place a strong emphasis on following the rules of the university, Big 12 Conference and NCAA, and our steady progress over the past four years has taken a leap forward under the leadership of our associate A.D. for compliance Lindsey Babcock and her staff. Among the proactive steps we have taken are a successful transition to new compliance tracking software, providing additional resources for education of coaches and student-athletes, as well as conducting monthly coaches meetings with our staffs and compliance personnel to educate our coaches on new rules and regulations and current events around the country. Although we must always be vigilant, we are pleased to report that we have not had a major violation over the past four years and, I believe, have built strong credibility with both the NCAA and Big 12 compliance staffs.
  • We continue to make Title IX enhancements and demonstrate our commitment to the letter and spirit of this important federal law. Since 2009, we have greatly improved facilities for all of our female student-athletes including new additions such as the Tennis Stadium, Intercollegiate Rowing Center, Basketball Training Facility, locker room and clubhouse at Colbert Hills and the Timbercreek equestrian facility, as well as significant upgrades to Ahearn Field House for volleyball and track and the R.V. Christian Track Complex. We've also improved our operation and salary support for our female teams and coaches.
  • In 2012, K-State achieved the highest level of NCAA Certification after a rigorous review process led by senior vice provost Ruth Dyer. Many faculty and staff across the university participated in this assessment and we appreciate all that time and effort.

I can't express how grateful we are at K-State for having such loyal, caring and trustworthy fans. When we arrived President Schulz asked for your patience — indeed you were — as we re-earned your trust and K-State fans at all levels have stepped up to support Wildcat student athletes and programs!

Next up will be a review of goal No. 4, Championship-Level Athletic Performances, before we wrap up the five-letter series with the most important goal of all, No. 1, A World Class Student Athlete Experience.

One more note: Last week I had the pleasure of taking a special guest for a tour of the West Stadium Center. Be on the look out over the next few days for a WSC construction update video.

Thanks, as always, and ...

Go 'Cats!

John Currie