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1998-99 University of Florida Athletics Year in Review

Gator Athletics Program Finishes Fourth in the Nation

Complete review (3.48 MB)

A national title by the women's soccer team and 10 other top-10 national finishes led the University of Florida to a fourth-place finish in the 1998-99 Sears Directors' Cup national all-sports competition. Florida's 11 top-10 team finishes are the most in the athletic program's history.

Florida has ranked among the nation's five best collegiate athletic programs for 10 consecutive years and among the nation's top 10 for 16 straight years. Florida and UCLA are the only schools to finish in the top 10 in national all-sports rankings every year since 1983-84, while Florida, UCLA and Stanford are the only schools to finish in the top five in the nation in each of the past 10 years.

The Sears Directors' Cup, presented annually by the nation's athletics directors, recognizes the schools with the best overall sports performances in an academic year.

Points awarded for an institution's finish in up to 20 sports determines the all-sports champion. Fielding 18 athletic teams, Florida finished fourth with 580 points. Stanford captured the title with 910 points.

In addition to the national title in soccer, 10 other Gator teams finished in the top 10 of their respective sports in 1998-99: Women's Tennis (2nd), Volleyball (T3rd), Women's Indoor Track & Field (T4th), Men's Tennis (T5th), Football (6th), Men's Indoor Track & Field (T7th), Women's Swimming (8th), Men's Outdoor Track & Field (T9th), Men's Basketball (T9th), Gymnastics (T10th).

Florida also captured four Southeastern Conference Championships in 1998-99, raising its total to 51 since the 1990-91 academic year, the top total among league schools over that time span. UF won SEC crowns in men's golf, soccer, women's tennis and volleyball. The Gator athletics program collected its eighth consecutive SEC All-Sports Trophy. The men won their second consecutive SEC All-Sports Trophy, while the women finished second.

Florida was equally successful away from the athletic arena in 1998-99 with 121 student-athletes named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll, setting the league single-season record for recipients for a second consecutive year. Florida's 713 Academic Honor Roll recipients in the decade of the 1990s and 1,029 honorees since 1980 are the top totals in the SEC during those time spans.

In addition, in an era when the NCAA estimates 70 percent of Division I schools are losing money on intercollegiate athletics, the Gator athletic program continued to have an impact in regard to University academic programs. Since 1990, the University Athletic Association has contributed more than $16.3 million to the University to fund academic endeavors.

Florida's athletic program also serves as a focal point for the surrounding community and beyond, as 6.8 million fans have filed through the gates to attend UF sporting events over the past eight years. More than 856,000 fans attended 174 home events in Gainesville in 1998-99 and five UF athletic teams ranked in the top 10 nationally in attendance.

University of Florida student-athletes have donated many hours to the Gainesville and surrounding communities. The "Goodwill Gators" program was recognized by the National Consortium of Academics and Sports and received the 1998 Outreach and Service Award. Over the past two years, UF student-athletes have participated in over 250 events by reaching out to more than 12,000 individuals of all ages.

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