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Saturday, 3 November 2012

Spelman College Chooses Fitness Over Athletics





Spelman College, a historically black women's college in Atlanta, has decided to refocus nearly $1 million away from its intercollegiate sports program that serves just 4 percent of students, to a campus-wide health and fitness program benefiting all 2,100.

The school had a social responsibility to encourage fitness, said Spelman's president, Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, to the Associated Press. A campus analysis found that almost one out of every two students has high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or is obese.

"I have been to funerals of young alums who were not taking care of themselves, and I believe we can change that pattern not only for them but for the broader community," Tatum said.

The Division III school has been part of the Great South Athletic Conference in seven sports, including basketball, softball and tennis. Tatum said the school was sending a letter to the NCAA saying the school would be withdrawing from the conference and would no longer have an athletics program. Instead, the school plans to expand wellness programs and renovate fitness facilities.

David Ridpath, an associate professor of sports administration at Ohio University, called the announcement eye-catching and predicted it could serve as a model at similar schools.

Ridpath, who is also president-elect of the Drake Group, a national faculty organization advocating for changes in college athletics, said other schools, too, “might try to get out of the rat race and get back to the original view of we need to worry about the mind and body of our students."

03/11/2012  :  By Kathleen Struck /  Everyday Health 

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