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Interim Chancellor Woodward, You Have My Vote (If You Want It)

August 13, 2009
If for no other reason, for getting why strong athletics is important to a university:

“At any institution, athletics is the window through which most people see the university. And certainly, the two sports most seen by people outside the university are football and basketball.” — Jim Woodward

These were the words offered up in an interview seen below during Woodward’s trip to football practice this week. Woodward watched practice, then took the time to speak to the players during a break in the action.

How refreshing is it to once again hear a chancellor–our chancellor, no less–express in no uncertain terms that strong, successful “revenue” athletic programs are vital to the success of the WHOLE university, not just the athletics department itself.

It’s been proven time and time again that schools with successful football and basketball teams experience higher interest from prospective students across the country. More demand for limited admission slots means a higher caliber of student, which raises the level of achievement across the university landscape, which leads to more research grant monies, which lead to more notoriety, etc., etc., etc. (Aside: Wouldn’t you love to see the application stacks in Gainsville these days? I bet they’re practically swimming in high school valedictorian and salutatorian apps…)

You get the picture. Apparently, so does interim chancellor Jim Woodward. Maybe I’m drinking the Kool-Aid and perhaps he’s got us all fooled, but if it were up to me I’d ask Jim if he wanted that “interim” tag done away with. I’m not sure if he wants the gig, but if he does, I hope he gets some serious consideration.

Ask yourself this: Could you have ever seen disgraced ex-chancellor Jim Oblinger hanging out at football practice, let alone speaking to the players on their importance to the university? Right.

Keep impressing us, Jim.

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