Spelman College Is Dropping Intercollegiate Athletics

Spelman College, a highly rated liberal arts college for women in Atlanta with a predominantly Black student body, has announced that it will end all intercollegiate sports and focus instead on a new “Wellness Revolution.” At the current time, Spelman has intercollegiate teams in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, and volleyball.

Beverly Daniel Tatum, president of Spelman College, notes that many students at the college suffer from hypertension and diabetes. In a statement to the campus community, President Tatum said, “Spelman is known for educating the best and the brightest of their generation. We invest a tremendous amount of time and talent into our students’ development, an investment which will transform their lives and the communities they will impact. However, given the current state of Black women’s health, we have to question whether these students will live long enough to make that impact. Will they have the healthy quality of life needed to truly deliver on the promise of their potential?”

As a result of the new initiative, Spelman will end its participation in intercollegiate sports and President Tatum says they will now focus instead on “fitness/wellness/intramural programs, emphasizing those activities that career women are likely to maintain for a lifetime – tennis, golf, swimming, yoga, Pilates, running and walking.”

The college is redesigning its physical education curriculum to mirror its new commitment to wellness. A $13 million renovation of Read Hall is planned to make it into a state-of-the-art fitness facility.

Here is a slideshow on fitness programs at Spelman:

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  1. What a novel approach to education and one that I wish my alma mater thought more about implementing. Imagine the huge money pit that would be eliminated from college budgets and the huge amount of money that would be available to all students as a result; lower tuition costs, lower health risks, many broad and intellectual programs. Sport as exercise sport as a part of everyone’s life. College like it used to be years ago. What a refreshing idea. Kudos to this school and it’s administrators. Please to talk to my old school, the University of Connecticut, and try and convince them of this unique approach to education. Ivory towers of education rather than coliseums for the uneducated gladiators. The journey starts with the first step. This is a first step for others, perhaps.

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