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Gators athletics helping support academic programs

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The University of Florida Athletic
Association, which produced national championships in football and
basketball, is donating $6 million to the university to support
academic programs jeopardized by state budget cuts.

University of Florida President Bernie Machen announced the gift
Wednesday at the annual UF Joint Civic Club luncheon.

Our athletic programs have had tremendous success in the past
couple of years. It takes a great academic university to be a top
athletic university," Machen said.

The Gator football team won the national championship in January
and the basketball team won the national championship for the
second year in a row.

The money will be used to help pay for continuation of the
Florida Opportunity Scholars program. The scholarship pays for
tuition, room and board for qualified students who are the first in
their family to attend a four-year university and have family
income less than $40,000. The program, in its second year,
contributed to gains in minority enrollment over the past year.

Since 1990, the association has given $40 million to the
university for its academic programs.