By KENNY LANNOUS
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Thanks again to the generosity and hard work of Wildcat fans, donors, coaches and staff, K-State Athletics, Inc., produced a balanced budget in FY 2018 and achieved a surplus for the ninth consecutive year while also setting a new record through the Ahearn Fund annual giving program.
The department’s budget surplus reflects the commitment of the K-State Nation through ticket sales and annual giving in addition to support from the Big 12 Conference and K-State’s strong partnerships with sponsors. Though the annual audit is not yet complete, operating revenue is expected to exceed operating expense. This positive result, required by bond covenants, along with those of prior years, has helped the department aggressively invest back into all 450-plus Wildcat student-athletes in a fiscally responsible manner.
Overall cash gifts to the department in FY 2018 totaled $30.9 million, of which a record $18.9 million was designated for the Ahearn Fund annual giving program which surpassed its budgeted goal. K-State Athletics remains one of just a few universities nationwide, and the only institution in Kansas, to operate without use of state tax or university tuition dollars.
“We are very appreciative of the loyalty and dedication of the K-State Nation as we continue to provide our coaches and student-athletes with the necessary resources to compete for and win Big 12 Championships,” Athletics Director Gene Taylor said. “The grassroots support of our fans through ticket purchases and Ahearn Fund gifts continues to be the lifeblood of our department, and we grateful for their continued support.”
In addition, Taylor also announced that the K-State Athletics, Inc., Board of Directors has approved the department’s FY19 budget of $82.1 million, an $8.6 million increase over the previous year’s budget.
The department’s largest revenue sources will again be the combined ticket purchases and contributions from loyal fans and Ahearn Fund donors, targeted at $34 million, in addition to approximately $38 million in projected Big 12/NCAA revenue shares. While Big 12 revenues have nearly tripled since 2009, the grass-roots participation and dedication of Wildcat fans and donors remains the largest source of support for K-State student-athletes. And, direct and indirect university support of athletics was 6.1 percent of the department’s budget in FY10 and will be zero for the fourth straight year. As part of its commitment to enhancing the experience of all K-State students, K-State Athletics, in conjunction with the Student Governing Association, also ended its annual receipt of student privilege fees beginning in FY 2019, scheduled to be $200,000, one year earlier than originally scheduled.
On the expense side, KSA will again increase its student-athlete support line (up $2.2 million from FY14), along with an increase of approximately $4 million in operating/recruiting costs and $700,000 in scholarship costs as the department enters into the fourth year of providing “full cost of attendance.”
K-State’s annual debt service payment will slightly decline this year both in dollar amount and percentage of budget, while the “Administration” line item for FY19 will increase by roughly $1 million to $5 million largely in part to budgeting for the excise tax imposed by recent tax law changes. K-State Athletics’ annual institutional support fee, which KSA pays to the University to help provide administrative support, will increase by $300,000 to $884,400 in FY19.