Who We Are
Significance and Overview
Amateur athletics is pervasive in American society. Over 50 million youth participate in youth sports annually and hundreds of thousands of collegiate student-athletes participate at various levels of intercollegiate athletics. Millions of people also interact with amateur sports as fans, parents, supporters, and direct consumers of amateur sport products and services. The tremendous following that is enjoyed by intercollegiate and youth athletics has created of one of the biggest sport industry segments in the United States. For example, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) member institutions alone spend over $10 billion annual to operate their programs. While the size of the youth sport industry is difficult to quantify, recent estimates suggests that the travel associated with youth sport events alone generates around $7 billion annually (Sports Facilities Advisory, 2013).
The rapidly growing and evolving amateur sport industry in the United States has experienced a great deal of success but also continues to suffer from a general lack of integration, informed decision making, and development (Farrey, 2013). The Laboratory for Athlete and Athletics Development and Research (LAADR) aims to address these knowledge gaps by providing scholars and athletics industry practitioners with the knowledge required to effectively develop amateur sports and athletes.
The LAADR relies on two major pillars of research, training and outreach to achieve its mission:
1. Development of Athletes
- Youth and college athlete human development through sports science
- Youth and collegiate athlete well-being and success away from and after sport, including career development, life transitions, and value creation.
2. Development of Athletics
- Sport business principles that enable the capacity of sports properties that serve amateur athletes to run efficient, ethical, and sustainable programs
- Sport management and administration knowledge and principles to create a more holistic and inclusive amateur sport environment for all.
The major goals of the LAADR are:
- Attract interdisciplinary research teams to collaborate on research specific to amateur athletes and athletics organizations.
- Support academic enrichment of the university community through technical reports, database development and warehousing, data dissemination, symposiums, seminars, conferences, lectures, and academic courses pertinent to athletics administration and development.
- Serve as the preeminent scholarly laboratory for the management, development, and dissemination of information related to developing and managing amateur sports and athletes.
- Provide UF students and faculty with experiential research and learning activities through the work of the laboratory.