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Warrington lends analytics expertise to UF strategic sports initiative

Known as the UF & Sport Collaborative, the five-part project has received $2.5 million in support from UF President Ben Sasse’s strategic funding initiative.

The University of Florida is embarking on a multi-faceted initiative to propel the university to the global stage in sports performance, healthcare, and communication, while illuminating its world-class sports facilities and partnerships. 

As part of the UF & Sport Collaborative, the Warrington College of Business and College of Health and Human Performance are partnering with the University of Florida men’s basketball team to improve recruitment, player evaluation, scouting and game strategy through AI tools. Generous support from President Ben Sasse as well as $1 million in private donor support are bringing the Gator AccelerAltor for Sports Analytics to life.

“This initiative will combine the AI and analytics expertise of Warrington faculty and students, the world-class sports management programs in the College of Health and Human Performance, and the power of Gator Athletics,” said Warrington Dean Saby Mitra. “I am very excited to see what we can accomplish together for The Gator Nation and the world of sports.”

While professional sports leagues have heavily invested in analytics over the past decade, college sports have been slower to implement sports analytics. To guide Coach Todd Golden and the UF men’s basketball team, Warrington and the College of Health and Human Performance will work directly with the team and athletes to help make strategic decisions on and off the court through the use of AI tools.

The Gator AccelerAltor project will provide students in the Warrington College of Business with a real-world laboratory in which to work directly with teams and athletes. With assistance from the sport management experts in the College of Health and Human Performance, the hands-on approach will enrich the academic experience and better prepare graduates for real-world careers in sports analytics.

“Projects like these permit students to understand the end-to-end process of AI and analytics with sports applications,” said Jim Hoover, Director of the Business Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Center at the Warrington College of Business. “The results of these projects will provide competitive advantages for our UF sports teams.”

In addition to working to provide practical insights for the men’s basketball team, the Gator AccelerAltor project will also develop a master’s degree program in AI and Sports Analytics.

“The Department of Sport Management is thrilled to be partnering with Warrington and Gator Athletics on the Gator AccelerAItor initiative,” said George B. Cunningham, Chair of the Department of Sport Management and UAA Endowed Professor. “Together, we look forward to leading the way in the intersection of AI and sports analytics.”