Office aims to assist beyond playing days


Published: Monday, January 13, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 12, 2003 at 10:43 p.m.
For every University of Florida athlete who leaves with a fat pro-league signing bonus in their pocket, a hundred others will end their senior seasons sending out resumes or applying to graduate school.
The Office of Student Life, which is funded by the University Athletic Association, tries to prepare these elite student-athletes for life after competition.
A full-time career counselor is available to the student-athletes, as is the Gator Career Network, a conglomeration of UF alums, boosters, corporations and former letter winners who have agreed to check out their resumes when they graduate.
In addition to the regular coursework, UF's student-athletes are also required to take "life skills" classes created just for them, including a freshman class called "Student Development in the University Setting."
The class focuses on study skills and time management, as well as NCAA rules.
The required student-athlete course for sophomores is called Alcohol and Drug Abuse, and graduating seniors are required to have taken a class called "Career and Life Planning," which helps those who will no longer be competing in their sport adjust to their "post-career" life.
In that class recently, full-time sports nutritionist Michelle Rockwell talked with student-athletes about the changes they will need to make in their diets and exercise regimens once they stop competing.
"Your body changes when you're not in competition," Rockwell said, noting that many football players burn 5,000 to 7,000 calories a day during two-a-day practices.
But once they stop playing and training as rigorously, the burn rate will go down to 3,500 calories per day.
She gave the students an example to illustrate that point - a former lineman who weighed 295 pounds while he was competing for the Gators but who quickly ballooned up to 320 pounds once he graduated and stopped playing.
"That's not going to happen to any of our linemen is it?" she asked in the general direction of junior offensive guard Shannon Snell.
"No," piped up junior running back Ran Carthon. "They're all 320 pounds now."
Carrie Miller can be reached at 338-3103 or millerc@gvillesun. com.

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