An Open Letter to Wyoming Fans and Supporters

Nov. 27, 2013

LARAMIE, Wyo. - We take great pride in our student-athletes and athletic teams here at the University of Wyoming, and we strive to represent you, our loyal supporters, in the most positive manner possible. Many hours of hard work by our student-athletes, coaches and athletic department staff go into practicing, recruiting and preparing for the athletic events that you attend. The young men and women who compete in our 17 sports also put in many more hours to achieve at a high level in the classroom.

Recently, the University of Wyoming hired a consulting firm to evaluate our football and men's basketball programs to identify areas that may assist those programs in competing at the NCAA Division I level.

When the consultant's report was released, UW Athletics Director Tom Burman had this to say.

"I look forward to working with the University of Wyoming administration to implement many of the recommendations and resolve many of the financial challenges we face," said Burman. "We are excited about the future of Wyoming Athletics and what this report can do to unify our student-athletes, coaches, fans and the campus community around our program.

"This as an opportunity to acknowledge areas in which we need to improve. It is also an opportunity to emphasize the areas where we need additional resources to help us assure that our football and men's basketball programs are championship contenders going forward.

"Nobody believes more in our future than I.

"We will begin the process of developing a strategy to engage stakeholders in a thorough discussion about the entire athletics program and how it fits within the campus and state of Wyoming. This process will be strategic, broad-based and extensive. The goal will be to produce a plan that provides a road map to success."

In addition to striving to make all of the athletic programs at UW successful on and off the field of competition, we feel it is also important to recognize the recent achievements by our teams and the individuals who compete on those teams. Achievements that we can all take great pride in as we continue to look to the future.

Here are just a few of the recent achievements by UW Athletics' teams and individuals.

Recent Program Achievements
•In 2013, the Wyoming Wrestling program won the NCAA Western Regional Tournament Championship and finished in the top 25 at the NCAA Championships.

•Men's basketball has enjoyed back-to-back 20-win seasons the past two years, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. Both years the team also earned postseason tournament bids, advancing to the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) Quarterfinals each season.

•In the 2012-2013 season, the Wyoming women's basketball program concluded the season with a 24-8 record and earned a postseason bid to the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).

•The Athletic Business Office Audit received a clean report for the 15th consecutive year.

•Cowboy Joe Club Annual Support is at the highest level ever -- $3,954,548 in the most recent fiscal year -- and the Cowboy Joe Club is closing in on its goal of achieving 5,000 members.

•Commitment to Providing Outstanding Athletic Facilities for Student-Athletes and Fans
*Jonah Field was selected as a Top 10 field design by
*Phase I of the Arena-Auditorium Renovation Project will start in March 2014
*A new facility for the men's and women's golf programs is projected to be completed in December 2013

Academic achievements
•Per the most recent NCAA APR Report, all UW Athletics teams were above the 930 threshold. Men's basketball, volleyball and wrestling had the highest APRs in the history of their respective programs.

•For the past two academic years (2011-2012 and 2012-2013), UW student-athletes earned a higher GPA than the general University of Wyoming student population.

•In 2012-2013, 71 UW student-athletes garnered Mountain West Conference Scholar-Athlete awards (3.5 cumulative GPA or higher) the most in the history of the program.

•Per the most recent Federal Graduation Report (6-year), UW student-athletes graduated at a higher rate than the general University of Wyoming student population.

•In 2012-2013, three student-athletes (Alfonso Hernandez-Wrestling, Greg Miller-Cross Country/Track and Field, and Luke Ruff-Football) earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships.

•In 2012-2013, Luke Ruff and Chaundra Sewell were named the Mountain West Male and Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year. This was the first time since 2001-2002 that student-athletes from the same institution garnered this award in the same academic year.

•Luke Ruff also earned First Team Capital One Academic All-America honors. To put Ruff's rare accomplishment in perspective, he was one of only 24 football student-athletes playing at the NCAA Division I level to receive First Team Capital One Academic All-America honors that season. The Division I Academic All-America Football Team includes student-athletes from a combined 246 teams across the nation -- 124 Football Bowl Subdivision teams and 122 Football Championship Subdivision teams.