Napier with AD Scott Stricklin. Photo courtesy of FloridaGators.com.

Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin Addresses Fan Questions and Concerns

Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin joined Steve Russell on Sportscene on Monday. He answered questions and concerns proposed by Gators fans around the nation.

Stricklin was tasked with providing information regarding the ever-changing Name, Image and Likeness landscape, renovations to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and more.

Keeping Up with the Ever-Changing NIL World

One of the topics Stricklin was asked about multiple times was how Florida is handling NIL. While the Gators’ AD went in depth on multiple fronts, his short answer was much more simple.

“The UAA is doing everything to the fullest extent that rules allow,” he said.

NIL has been a tricky matter for athletic departments to tackle given how new the initiative is, he said. However, navigating the NIL world becomes even more difficult with the number of restrictions placed by the NCAA.

As a result, Stricklin emphasized the importance of Gators fans getting involved with “Florida Victorious.” In turn, this creates more NIL opportunities for Florida athletes.

Florida Victorious has a “relationship” with nearly 50% of the athletes across many of the 21 sports offered at UF. Still, the collective is aiming to foster relationships with almost every athlete.

A couple of callers to the show asked about alternative revenue sources to boost NIL, including merchandise sales and TV contracts.

Stricklin clarified that a portion of jersey sales do in fact go to the players, but only for jerseys with their name and number. It is against NCAA rules for any portion of generic jersey and merchandise sales to go to the athletes. Stricklin mentioned that profits from TV contracts are also not allowed to be distributed amongst the players.

Stricklin Looks Ahead to Renovations of “The Swamp”

Several months ago, the athletic department announced it was developing plans to renovate Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. In December, UF hired Crawford Architects to take on the project. Initial reports suggested seating capacity may be decreased as a result of the renovation.

Understandably, there was a mix of emotion within the Gators fanbase as people debated whether the renovation would be beneficial.

“The goal is to … be in a situation where we can have the same number of Gators fans that have been coming the last 30 years be able to continue to come,” Stricklin said. “In a perfect world, we don’t impact capacity negatively.”

However, the stadium could still see a decrease in seats as the athletic program continues to develop plans aimed to fix a variety of outstanding problems at the facility.

State of the Football Program

Stricklin spent a lot of time addressing overarching topics within the world of Florida athletics, but as expected, many were curious about football.

The Gators have finished three consecutive seasons with a losing record. Nonetheless, Stricklin remained firm in his belief in the patient approach Florida is taking.

A major area of focus for Stricklin was age and experience.

“We’ve got to get older as a roster…I think we’ve got a really good core group of kids right now and they’re really hungry,” he said.

Florida relied heavily on freshmen last season, but Stricklin hopes there will be a step forward as they develop. He also added that the transfer portal, which is a key reason for why the Gators are on the younger side, is impacting every program.

Stricklin also noted that this past year, the football team had its highest collective GPA in the history of the program.

One caller asked the athletic director if he believed he would be able to hire a third head coach, if Napier was fired after the season. Stricklin did not mince words with his answer.

“I believe in Billy and I think he’s going to be here a long, long time.”

Stricklin Talks Changes to College Athletics

In addition to changes with the transfer portal, conference realignment has been a major talking point.

Oklahoma and Texas will join the SEC at the end of the 2023-24 scholastic calendar. As a result, Florida football will be travelling to Austin in November for a meeting with the Longhorns.

Stricklin voiced his satisfaction with the two additions to the conference.

“Those are two programs that fit the ethos and the culture of the Southeastern Conference.”

He also shared his excitement aside from football, specifically pointing to both Texas and Oklahoma’s success in softball, baseball, gymnastics and volleyball.

About Matt Quartararo

Matt is a fourth-year journalism major specializing in sports media and is also completing a sports management certificate. Starting in the Fall 2023 semester, Matt has served as a sports coordinator with WRUF. He also participates in sports broadcasting, providing play-by-play for a variety of Gators sports.

Check Also

Blue Team Secures Last-Second Win In Annual Spring Game

The Blue team captured a 19-17 win in the annual Orange & Blue Game thanks …