Sports & Recreation

The Game Plan for Badger Sports

Athletic Director Chris McIntosh ’04, MS’19 sets three priorities in a rapidly shifting environment.

Brick exterior of the UW Field House with the UW crest against a partly cloudy blue sky

The key to success, according to Athletic Director Chris McIntosh: adapt to the changes but remain true to your values.

The landscape of college athletics has shifted dramatically in the last couple of years. Student-athletes can now profit from the use of their name, image, and likeness (NIL). And they can transfer to play for a new school once without penalty. These NCAA policy changes have added an entirely new dimension to recruiting and retention.

That’s the now. What does the future hold?

No one is sure. But for Athletic Director Chris McIntosh ’04, MS’19, the key to success at Wisconsin will always be this simple: adapt to the changes but remain true to your values.

Some changes are obvious.

In November, McIntosh hired Luke Fickell, the consensus 2021 National Coach of the Year, to lead Badger football into a new era. But future success is often predicated on a strong foundation — on the quiet work happening off the field and out of sight.

In his own words below, McIntosh outlines UW Athletics’ three biggest priorities for 2023 and beyond.

Capital Projects

It is essential that we have modern facilities that serve the needs of our student-athletes and staff. It would not be inaccurate to say we have fallen behind some of our peers in terms of facility offerings, and we are working to rectify that situation.

The new south end zone addition in Camp Randall Stadium has been a game changer. We are in the midst of a substantial renovation of several student-athlete services areas in the Kohl Center. And we are working to address the need for a new indoor football training facility to replace the 35-year-old McClain Center.

Support for Name, Image, and Likeness

Since July 1, 2021, college student-athletes have been able to profit from the use of their own NIL. This is a quickly evolving space in college athletics, and it is important that Badger student-athletes are positioned for success.

We have partnered with various third parties like Opendorse and Altius to serve as resources to our student-athletes, coaches, and staff, and we are supportive of the Varsity Collective, which has been established by a group of UW supporters to help our student-athletes maximize [the value of] their NIL through education, support, and partnerships with community organizations.

Well-Being of Student-Athletes and Staff

This will always be at the forefront for UW Athletics. We are committed to the holistic wellness and support of our students.

We have placed a high priority on mental health support by increasing our staffing and programming. We have six in-house licensed mental health professionals and nine licensed community providers. These individuals have diverse backgrounds and skill sets.

Our clinical and sports psychology unit takes a team approach to student-athlete well-being, and our partnerships with sports medicine, UW Hospital and Clinics, and University Health Services allow us to deliver care for student-athletes that is comprehensive and personalized.

Published in the Spring 2023 issue


  • Gary Kraft-baseball 66/67 May 5, 2023

    Always wonder whether Wisconsin is ever going to resurrect the baseball program, a major college sport around the country and truly catch up with the rest of the Big Ten. What an embarrassment for such a great university.

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