College attracts athletes for many diverse reasons

Published: Saturday, January 18, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 18, 2003 at 1:34 a.m.

An article (Jan. 14) in The Gainesville Sun states that 23 percent of UF student-athletes are enrolled in the College of Health and Human Performance with 49.5 percent in Liberal Arts and Sciences and 9.7 percent in Business. This is about correct.

However, the negative context in which the Health and Human Performance information was presented does a disservice to the student-athlete, to the 1,800 students enrolled in this college and to the college's fine academic reputation.

As dean of the College of Health and Human Performance, let me put this issue in a broader context: Only about 6 percent of our college enrollment are student-athletes.

Typically, these athletes come from all 16 varsity sports sponsored by the University Athletic Association. Currently, about 60 percent represent men's varsity sports and 40 percent represent women's varsity sports. The average GPA for student-athletes enrolled in the college is approximately 2.9.

Besides the stringent requirements for our majors, student-athletes in the college must meet the same two-year general education requirements as all other UF undergraduate students, which includes composition, humanities, social and behavioral sciences, math, physical and biological sciences, as well as a 24,000 word writing requirement.

The faculty of the College of Health and Human Performance is not in the business of keeping athletes eligible to play, as The Sun article might suggest, although we welcome qualified student-athletes into our programs.

And it is understandable that athletes would gravitate to studies in exercise and sport sciences, health science education and recreation, parks and tourism since these areas focus on careers and available jobs that embrace the essence of sport - helping people of all ages improve our health, fitness and quality of life.

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