A Launching Pad for Young People to Do Great Things in the World

Chris McIntosh opened the October 7 Rotary program with a question. “What do you think of when you think of the Badgers?”

You may imagine sitting in the stands watching football at Camp Randall, but there’s a lot more to it when it comes to Badger athletics.

Each year, the UW-Madison Department of Intercollegiate Athletics makes available the opportunity for approximately 800 student-athletes to obtain a world-class education while competing on a grand athletic stage.

Chris McIntosh was named Deputy Athletic Director in July 2017. He oversees daily operations of the department, student‐athlete recruitment, business development, human resources, and strategic planning.

McIntosh was a consensus All‐America offensive tackle and Outland Trophy finalist for the Badgers in 1999. He captained Wisconsin’s back‐to‐back Big Ten and Rose Bowl champions in 1998 and 1999 and started 50 straight games during his college career. He was a first‐round draft choice of the Seattle Seahawks in 2000 and played in Seattle for three seasons.

He emphasized that UW-Madison athletes gain far more than lasting memories and trophies; they have numerous opportunities ahead due to their world-class education. 

Athletes receive support from several organizations like W-Club which includes UW-Wisconsin alumni around the country. Interestingly, 63 percent of Badger athletes settle in the Upper Midwest after graduation.

Where does the revenue come from for the UW athletics?  McIntosh said the sport of football, including filling the stands at Camp Randall on seven Saturdays a year is an important cog in the wheel. But this year there have been revenue shortfalls given the widespread impact of Covid-19.

Eight hundred young people in 23 sports are developing life skills that can take them far. The mentoring and support they receive at the UW during these formative years is crucial to their success. Much of that support comes from relationship building.

McIntosh showcased several athletes’ stories and how UW-Madison was a launching pad for their doing great things in the world.

By and large UW athletes recognize their exceptional educational opportunities. That shows in the 3.2.46 GPA earned by the vast majority of UW-Madison athletes.

Looking back on their athletic experiences at the UW-Madison, McIntosh said, “These young people discover they are capable of far more than what they thought was possible.—all because of football.”

Our thanks to Chris McIntosh for speaking to our club this week and to Sharyn Alden for preparing this review article. If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here:  https://youtu.be/YB626jHUsdk.

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