Former UF star works to empower student-athletes |

No matter what it is that lies behind this trend, there’s no doubting that the area of student-athlete well-being is rising to the surface. Whether it’s nutrition, practice time, career concerns, or mental health, we’re seeing more and more attention paid to these topics by colleges, universities, and other organizations.

Haley Lorenzen was dependable and consistent in her four-year basketball career at the University of Florida, scoring 1,214 points and grabbing 730 rebounds from 2014-18.

Now, as a UF graduate student studying sports administration, Lorenzen is on a path to impact student-athletes throughout the country.

Lorenzen attended the NCAA Convention in Orlando this week and was one of 15 former and current NCAA student-athletes to vote on 11 autonomy proposals. She is one of three athletes from the SEC, a list that includes LSU football player Blake Ferguson and Mississippi State volleyball player Khristian Carr.

The proposals, which include greater access to agents for career advisement and more access to mental health services, are designed to give student-athletes in the revenue-producing power five conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12) more of a voice in policies that can affect their college careers.

“It used to be where coaches and administration had all the voice and student-athletes really didn’t have any,” Lorenzen said. “It’s been really interesting to see how decisions are changed as people have become more informed.”

For Lorenzen, the path to athlete advocacy began as an undergraduate. At the Hawkins Center on UF’s campus, the academic center for Gator athletes, advisers put Lorenzen in contact with the Southeastern Conference office, to learn and make connections. Lorenzen already was a member of student-athlete advisory committees at UF and, through her meetings with the SEC, became a member of the student-athlete leadership council, providing feedback on SEC proposals directly back to UF athletic and academic administrators.

“That made me more aware of some of the things that were going on around the country,” Lorenzen said.

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