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K-State Today

November 19, 2015

A.D. John Currie updates faculty and staff on elimination of subsidies in athletics

Submitted by John Currie

Dear K-State Faculty and Staff:

Thank you for all you are doing to help the university accelerate toward the K-State 2025 vision under President Schulz's leadership. As you know, the supportive and friendly atmosphere you create on our beautiful campus continues to be our most impressive attribute as we welcome potential K-State student-athletes on campus visits for each of our 16 intercollegiate sports.

It is hard to believe it has now been almost seven years since my family and I arrived in Manhattan. Walking A student-athlete receives her degreeacross campus and seeing incredible progress with wonderful new projects like the College of Business Administration building, the Engineering Expansion, Purple Masque Theatre, Berney Family Welcome Center, Wefald Hall and the Student Union renovations, among others, is exciting and encouraging. Of course, the people IN the buildings are always more important that the structures themselves, but it is nice to see these physical improvements for our faculty, staff and students alike!

Earlier this fall President Schulz asked me to update our faculty/staff as to some of the progress Athletics has made recently, especially as it relates to our K-State Pledge Goal No. 2: Value to the University, Community and State.

First, when we arrived at K-State in June 2009, approximately $2.6 million of our $44 million fiscal year 2010 budget — 7 percent — came from direct and indirect institutional support. Fast forward to fiscal year 16 and we are the lone athletics program in the state of Kansas and one of only approximately 25 in the country to operate with zero direct or indirect institutional support, and we have now assumed full responsibility for utility payments for athletic facilities, making these dollars available for other academic needs across campus.

So how does K-State really compare?

Institutional support among peers.Through open records requests and the federal government's Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act, or EADA, USA Today has done a nice job of compiling a database that you may find interesting. This database, while not perfect, provides the most accessible and up-to-date comparative view of intercollegiate athletics finance available. If you take a few minutes to look through the database, I encourage you to scroll down into the range of the schools ranked between 30 and 50 in athletics revenues. You'll see K-State at No. 43. Notice in that 30-50 range the number of recognizable and renowned AAU and APLU member institutions and fine land-grant universities with similarities to K-State who have seven and eight-figure subsidies of intercollegiate athletics.

There are other important financial ways K-State Athletics contributes to the well-being of the university such as paying the full cost of all 221 athletic scholarships for our student-athletes while paying about $1.1 million in non-athletics work study and assistantships to more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students this past year. Including an annual institutional support fee of $408,000, which we pay to the university to help provide administrative support such as legal services to K-State Athletics, and payments to Housing and Dining, our total payments to the university's base budget for fiscal year 2016 will be just over $5 million.

Meanwhile partial scholarship and non-scholarship student-athletes directly pay the university approximately $3.6 million in tuition, fees and residence life and dining payments each year.

And, K-State Athletics' $1.6 million annual sales tax payment helps fund the City/University Projects Fund that provides approximately $600,000 annually to complete projects that benefit the city of Manhattan and K-State.

Institutional support/subsidyLast month, we took another significant step forward working together with our Student Government to propose legislation subsequently passed by Student Senate to reduce student privilege fee allocations to Athletics from the current $500,000 to $450,000 in fiscal year 2017 followed by $350,000 in fiscal year 2018 and $200,000 beginning in fiscal year 2019. Our student body support is the envy of universities and athletics programs across the nation, and I know our coaches and student-athletes echo those sentiments. The relationship we have with our student government leaders and the Student Governing Association and our nationally renowned students will continue to be a huge part of our ability to achieve the Vision of A Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program, and that's why we continue to allocate the prime seating sections both court- and field-side in Bramlage and Bill Snyder Family Stadium. But we believe, given other critical student needs across campus, the time has come for us to phase out the annual student fee allocation to intercollegiate athletics. You can read the full details of the Oct. 16 announcement.

With our goal of providing a World-Class Student-Athlete Experience at the forefront of our vision of being a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program, we continue to build upon our championship performances and Big 12-leading RowingAcademic Progress Rate, or APR, and graduation rate figures by investing and reinvesting into Wildcat student-athletes through facility improvements and enhancements in academic, sports medicine, strength training and nutritional services. I am very proud that our $195 million in athletic facility improvements have truly benefited all 16 of our sports, including significant enhancements and upgrades in our facilities for female student-athletes, most notably in the Ice Basketball Center, Intercollegiate Rowing Center, Goss Tennis Stadium and now our new soccer complex.

When we debuted the West Stadium Center, or WSC, at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in 2013, we did not open just another athletics facility — we dedicated the new Northwest Gateway to Kansas State University. The WSC is justBSFS one example of how a new facility can be advantageous to an entire university community as many academic programs and staffs have utilized the building for various work functions as well as a recruiting tool. President Kirk Schulz and Vice President Pat Bosco have used gameday Saturdays at Bill Snyder Family Stadium to cultivate new relationships with academic prospects, and what better way to be introduced to the K-State Family by experiencing our scene with 50,000 new friends. The WSC also benefits the excellent work of both the KSU Foundation and the K-State Alumni Association in entertaining donors and friends.

IceCareful fiscal management starts with discipline, creativity and efficiency. Our 165 athletics department staff members and coaches — among the lowest department headcount in the Big 12 — are committed to these principles. Each year as we transparently release our budget you have noticed the significant growth in our revenues related to our membership in the Big 12 Conference. We must never take for granted the importance of this affiliation and continue to invest in our athletic infrastructure and programs to ensure we remain amongst the highest level of intercollegiate athletics.

Under the leadership of President Schulz, I could not be any more confident that greater days are ahead for Kansas State. Thank you for all that you do for our great university and for all 24,000-plus students. If there is ever anything more we can do for you as an athletics department, please let us know. As Thanksgiving approaches, know how grateful K-State Athletics is to be part of the Kansas State University family.

Go Cats!

John Currie