The busy world of UF athletics begins to wind down as summer starts to heat up, but there’s still plenty to follow as several teams are in the thick of their respective postseasons.
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Florida’s top-ranked baseball team is currently taking part in the SEC Tournament without First-Team All-SEC catcher JJ Schwarz, who is nursing a broken hand. Schwarz’s availability for the NCAA Regionals, which begins on June 1, will be reassessed following the SEC Tournament.
Meanwhile the softball team is chasing its second-straight trip to the Women’s College World Series in the NCAA Gainesville Super Regional this weekend. Florida finished as national runner-up a year ago after falling to Oklahoma in the championship series.
The men’s and women’s tennis teams are both competing in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The competition ends on Monday.
After finishing the NCAA Kissimmee Regional with a school-record minus-42 on May 16, the men’s golf team will travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma, to compete for the NCAA National Championship starting Friday.
The men’s and women’s track and field teams are competing in the NCAA East Preliminary in Tampa, which starts today and runs through Saturday. Both will look to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon. The men’s team was crowned national champions at the 2017 NCAA outdoors competition, while the women’s team finished fifth.
Holloway signs new contract, football and basketball schedule future opponents
On Wednesday, UF announced that veteran track and field coach Mike Holloway agreed to a 10-year contract extension with the team. The Gators have won seven national titles and nine SEC championships under Holloway, who coaches both the men’s and women’s track and field teams. He joined the UF track and field staff as an assistant coach in 1996 and has since been selected as USTFCCCA coach of the year seven times.
The school announced Tuesday that the UF and USF football teams have scheduled three meetings, starting in 2022. That meeting, and the final one in 2025, will be played in Gainesville. The 2023 matchup will be played in Tampa.
The men’s basketball team continues to beef up its non-conference schedule, announcing Wednesday that it will face West Virginia in the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 4 at Madison Square Garden. The Mountaineers finished 26-11 last season, falling to eventual-champion Villanova in the Sweet 16.
UF sports teams show academic prowess
The NCAA initiated its Academic Progress Rate (APR) in 2003 in an attempt to hold colleges “accountable for the academic progress” of student-athletes, according to NCAA.com.
Schools are rewarded for academic success and punished for a lack thereof. Each sports team gets its own APR score based on the NCAA’s criteria. Eleven of Florida’s 19 sports teams posted higher scores than the national average from the last four years, with men’s basketball, men’s cross country and men’s tennis all exceeding their respective averages by a wide margin.
Softball and football were among other teams to do so.
If a team’s four-year APR score is below 930 then it loses postseason eligibility for 2018-19, the next academic year. The lowest score of any UF team was 961 from the women’s track and field team.
Andrew Huang is a sports writer. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewJHuang and contact him at [email protected].