Varsity sporting activities bring together the entire extended University community. Fans had good reason to cheer this year. In 1997-98, seven of the University's twenty-four team sports competed at the top ten level on a regular basis: men's and women's soccer, men's and women's lacrosse, field hockey, women's rowing, and women's basketball. In addition, teams or individuals from sixteen sports represented the
U.Va.'s new basketball coach, Peter Gillen.
Another measure of progress is the University's standing in the annual Sears Director's Cup competition, which gauges the breadth of an institutional athletic program as well as its level of competitive play. In 1997-98, the University placed thirteenth among Division I schools, its highest ranking ever. The department's goal is to break into the top ten by improving practice and playing facilities and providing the maximum scholarship support allowed under NCAA rules.
At the same time that University athletes have made great strides on the playing field, they have also performed well academically. The graduation rate for student-athletes is 83 percent, well above the national average and close to the overall graduation rate for University students.
A Fitting Home for a Championship Team
Thanks to a $25 million challenge grant from former U.Va. football star Carl W. Smith, the University is in the midst of a multiyear project to expand and renovate Scott Stadium. After the end of the current season, Bryant Hall will be demolished and the two sets of lower stands will be connected. Some 60,000 fans will be on hand to cheer when the Cavaliers take the field for the 2000 season.