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Thursday, June 13, 2024

With three national titles in football and basketball in the past two years, UF can hold its own in athletics, but that isn't the case for academics.

According to rankings recently published by the U.S. News and World Report and the National Association of Collegiate Directors, several schools can crack both Top 10 list in academics and athletics, and UF isn't one of them.

UF's struggle to break into U.S. News' elusive Top 10 public universities list was not only unsuccessful but also regressive, with UF slipping four spots to No. 17.

In an interview Tuesday, UF President Bernie Machen said there's no plan to try and boost the rankings for next year.

"The reality is, our change in the academic rankings is insignificant," Machen said. "Last year we were tied at No. 13 with four schools. All that's happened is those four schools spread out."

This is a new game plan from the one Machen has been talking up during his nearly four-year presidency about getting UF into the big 10.

He said UF's goal is not to be in the Top 10 but to "be the best public university we can be."

Meanwhile, UF has consistently placed in the top 10 for athletics.

The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, established in 1965, holds a competition for the prestigious Sears Directors' Cup each year.

The Directors' Cup measures the success of the top athletic programs, taking into consideration several categories including program philosophy, value by sport and numerical standings from several publications. The competition includes several sports of both genders.

UF's athletics program, which will spend about ,76.6 million from 2007-2008, won sixth place in the competition for the 2006-2007 year, despite UF's recent drop in academic rankings.

The athletics program is privately funded.

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The University of California, Los Angeles, and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, tied for No. 3 in top public universities and placed in the top 10 for the Directors' Cup for the 2006-2007 year.

Michigan was No. 4 in the Directors' Cup competition for best athletic program, and UCLA finished No. 2.

In a Student Senate meeting in July, Machen said UCLA's athletic budget is about the same, but its academic budget is higher.

UF's academic budget totals about ,1.9 billion, according to UF spokesman Steve Orlando.

But while Michigan's athletic budget for the upcoming year is ,74.5 million, the academic budget for the upcoming school year is ,1.35 billion, according to its athletic office and a press release from the university.

Michigan's academic budget also includes a recently implemented 7.4 percent tuition increase for undergraduate and graduate students.

With an enrollment of about 55,000 spread across three campuses, Michigan is larger than UF, but with a smaller budget and higher rankings in both athletics and academics.

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