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New president supports athletics

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As was outlined in a story on here last week, the relationship between the University of Kentucky and the UK Athletics Department plays a vital role in the growth of both parties.

The president of the university plays a big part in that.

But as outgoing President Dr. Lee T. Todd, Jr. gets ready for retirement, there have been a lot of questions as to how his departure and the new president will affect the relationship between the university and the athletics department.

According to University of Alabama Birmingham Provost Eli Capilouto, who was elected as UK's 12th president on Tuesday, athletics will remain a large part of the university's plans.

Capilouto was asked by a student at UK's open forums on Monday what his experience is with athletics and what his general approach is to college athletics.

Below is Capilouto's full response. You can watch the YouTube video here.

"I'm going to confess I'm a fan. I like college sports. I've been to all the basketball and football games at our university. This better be the last time I say this. I got introduced to the Blue Nation in Columbus, Ohio in I think 2004 when Kentucky came in as the #1 seed and my little UAB upset Kentucky. It was powerful and I sort of looked at that crowd and that commitment and that enthusiasm with envy. We were there with a small group of fans. I know how that kind of experience can build allegiances and commitment and community in powerful ways. I think it's important that you maintain high academic standards and integrity in your athletic programs. And I also know that the benefit you have that very few college athletic programs have across this country. There are only a handful that are self-sufficient. I'm at a university where we're in the bottom 25 percent in terms of what we can spend on athletics and we have to support it quite heavily. You have a program that through its successes is able not only to support what it does for your major sports, but what have been the most powerful experiences for me, is to see all those other sports that can be supported through the successes of basketball and football. Especially all your women's programs. That to me is another marvelous example of how you have an out of the classroom experience that builds character and discipline and so forth. So I view that as a great opportunity, I also know that it can help recruit students, people like that experience. I think you need to look for ways that you can sort of leverage that powerful tool in your tool box to mean even greater things for the university."

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