I know, I know. BlackCats has lost it.
Have you ever had something staring you in the face and you just fail to put it together? When you have that "aha" moment you feel like such an idiot. Well, for a few of you that have been following what I'm about to discuss, you're going to feel the same way. For the rest, sit back and enjoy the ride.
Let's talk about NBAF, The National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility. After 9-11 the Senate Intelligence committee received intel straight from the caves of Afghanistan that showed terrorists were not only thinking about disrupting our food supply, but declassified copies of docs recovered show they were researching different diseases and delivery methods, like Nipah Virus, Hendra Virus, African Swine Fever, Rift Valley Fever, Japanese Encephalitis Virus, Foot and Mouth Disease, Classical Swine Fever, Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia.
To give you an idea of how these might effect us, let's look at the current plan of containment of these diseases that have no cure: slaughter and bury in a six foot deep by twelve foot wide ditch all animals within a defined radius from another population of susceptible animals. In real words, if a terrorist was able to cultivate enough foot and mouth to fill a windex bottle they could infect the entire cattle population of Hereford, TX by simply driving by and spraying it in the air near one feed lot. Over one million animals would have to be put down and the ditch would be 300 miles long.
With that in mind the newly formed Department of Homeland Security was tasked with replacing an aging facility off the coast of Long Island. After nearly three years, KSU was selected as the home of NBAF to much fanfare. I stood in the BRI and nearly fell over when Prez Wefald announced that the population of Manhattan would double by 2020. While that was an exaggeration, NBAF will forever change KSU, Manhattan and Kansas. All of the above info is a summary of Dr. Ron Trewyn's NBAF PowerPoint. A presentation I've seen so many times I could give it myself...asleep.
Great. What does that have to do with football? We're getting there but we have one more stop. Bare with me.
Enter Kirk Schulz. Our new President entered with an ambitious goal: Make KSU a Top 50 Public Research University. Now understand that we're not that far away as it is, but everyone is trying to increase endowments, research, annual giving, etc, etc, so it's a moving target. While things like student entrance ACT scores and faculty awards are figured in, Arizona State University's Measuring University Performance department (the annual report we are trying to break our way on to) focuses on funding: annual giving, endowments and especially research funding, duh.
Tuesday, Jackie Hartman gave me some updated numbers on NBAF that led to my aha moment. The original $451 million project is now up to $740 million. Instead of 300 PhD researchers there is now going to be at least 450 and now 1200 people working there. Some of the PhDs will have teaching privileges at KSU but more importantly some of our current professors and grad students will be able to use the facility.
Why is this important? Well, while USDA federal funding doesn't count toward your Federal Research total, this money is from DHS and the National Science Foundation. It counts because it will be competitive between the CDC and NBAF and remarkably, two labs in Europe. That said, the projected funding will be in the BILLIONS per year and anything a KSU professor or Grad student works on the University has spoken with ASU folks and it looks like they will count as KSU Federal Funding. Read that again, it's important. If they don't allow the funding to count towards KSU's funding total they will have to reduce significantly other school's funding like Harvard, Johns Hopkins, most the Ivys, basically anyone in the top 50. Current Plum Island funding is over $2.5 billion. NBAF will be twice as big with better facilities. $5 billion is not out of the question for the facility. Say we were involved with 20% of the work, that's a billion bucks folks. Not to mention the private companies that will fund KSU research at the facility. We would be number two of all universities at one billion dollars in total research.
And there is the aha...I already knew Kirk was a smart guy, but now I'm thinking genius. He can have all the focus groups and grassroots rah rah let's make K-State great moments all he wants, but the ONLY way he fails at making KSU a top 50 Public Research University is if NBAF doesn't come.
From what I can figure based on the 2010 report, there's a damn good chance that we could be in the top 25. If we could maintain our annual giving over $100 million a year and increase our endowment about 20%, we could be in the top 5.
Great. What does this have to do with football?
When the fight for NBAF began, we knew we knew we couldn't do it on our own so we looked to other states and schools for support. Schools or States with schools who might want to have access to NBAF through or with KSU Faculty. Among the 15 states that signed on were: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Sound familiar? Some of the schools that signed on were: University of Minnesota, Univ. of Illinois, Michigan St. Univ., Purdue Univ., Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, Univ. Of Nebraska and Penn State University.
Huh. Quite a list.
So how does this get KSU to the B1G? Well, the B1G has a little rule about only letting in schools that touch their current footprint. Now sure they could take Mizzou or Kansas to get to OU, so let's look at that.
According to the 2010 ASU-MUP Report
Total research - $244,000,000
Federal research - $108,000,000
Endowment - $440,000,000
Annual giving - $101,000,000
ACTs - 23-28
Total research - $111,000,000
Federal research - $53,000,000
Annual giving - $83,000,000 or $105,000,000 if you add KU Med
ACTs - 22-27
Total research - $137,000,000
Potential Total research $1.5 billion? Two?
Federal research - $53,000,000
Potential federal research - a Bill
Endowment - $439,000,000
Annual giving - $107,000,000
ACTs - 22-27
Total research - $229,000,000
Federal research - $81,000,000
Endowment - $627,000,000
Annual giving - $67,000,000
ACTs - 22-28
So there it is. We are not all that different then KU and Mizzou, or even NU who they took last year, but with a HUGE ceiling. Why would they want OU bad enough to pick up any of the three? Why to get to Texas of course.
Could they just say screw it and add Texas? Sure. But good luck getting access to NBAF B1G schools if KSU is playing in the Mt. West.