Thursday, February 18, 2010

What 'Student-Athlete Life' entails

We have started this new section to highlight some of the ins-and-outs of student-athlete life. This will include anything from healthy recipes to interesting ideas of things to do on campus. We hope you enjoy this new section!

Inside Student Government

By Zack Solomon

As a member of the NCAA Student Athlete Advisory Committee, I feel it is extremely important to be a leader in all aspects of your life. For me, that meant getting involved in my campus’ student government. Not only did I want to be a leader in the athletic realm of my college experience, but I wanted to be a leader to the entire student body.

During my first three years of college, I had very little knowledge of what student government did. As I started to learn more about their cause, I came to the realization that the student-athlete voice was not present in any shape or form in the student government structure at American University. Therefore, I made it one of my main priorities to have student-athlete representation in my school’s student government.

After unsuccessfully running for student government president - I lost by less than 100 votes - the incoming president created a position that oversaw all student/athletic areas, from varsity athletics to intramural sports. This opportunity has opened new avenues for me in terms of pushing the cause of student-athletes and students in general.

My experience in the student government in the past six months has allowed me to intertwine my responsibilities as president of our school's SAAC, to my role as Director of Athletics and Recreation for student government. Two experiences that I have had the pleasure to carry out in my position with the student government were to sit on the athletics committee for the Board of Trustees and to serve on the Campus Life, Athletics and Recreation Committee.

My insight as a student-athlete has helped both committees on numerous issues, including coming up with creative ways to raise school spirit and insight on what the American University should do to upgrade facilities to better the student and student-athlete experience at American University. If I were not involved with the student government, these opportunities probably would not have been available to me.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Getting to know the National SAAC'ers

Hello readers! This is a new feature that we are going to post weekly that allows you to get to know each of the Division I National SAAC members. It is important to us that the student-athletes know about the individuals that are representing them.

Bob Nolte, swimming and diving student-athlete from Binghamton University representing the America East Conference, has created all the bios you will read. Thanks Bob!

The first post is an interview of Nick Fulton.

Nick Fulton is the D1 National SAAC representative for the Big 10 Conference and the current Chair of the committee. He spent the last year serving as the Vice-Chair. Nick graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2009 with a dual degree in Political Science and Economics. As a Swimming Student-Athlete, he competed in the 100 and 200 Backstroke events for the Badgers.

How long have you been on National SAAC?
Since Fall 2007

How did you become involved with SAAC?
I was involved in my campus SAAC as a freshman. I eventually became an officer and was lucky enough to get to go to a conference SAAC meeting. It was at that meeting that I learned about the National SAAC.

What's one cool thing your campus SAAC does that makes you unique?
We have a sister organization called SAESO - Student Athletes Equally Supporting Others - that focuses exclusively on diversity issues. We have had some great discussions come out of this relationship.

What is your favorite memory from National SAAC?
I will always remember the people. I know that is probably cheating, but really, the biggest memory I will carry on forever from National SAAC are the people that I have been so fortunate to build relationships with.

What is the best thing about being a D1 Athlete?
The best thing about being a DI Athlete is that we get to compete at the highest level possible, while being provided with an extraordinary opportunity to go to some of the best Universities in the world.

Favorite food?

Favorite TV show?
West Wing

Favorite Pro Sports Team?
Minnesota Vikings

If you could meet one person in the world, who would it be?
President Bill Clinton

Place you’ve never been that you’d love to visit?

The actor who plays you in the movie version of your life?
Ben Affleck


One interesting fact about yourself?
Ed. Note- Nick didn’t answer this question, but I thought it was too cool to pass up. Nick qualified and competed at the 2008 Olympic Swimming Trials. He’s too proud to brag, so I thought I’d do a little for him- BN

What are some of your career goals?
I hope to be an Athletic Director at a Division I school.

Check back next week when we check in with Aminah Charles of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and hear about Hampton University’s Penny Drive.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

NCAA News Story on National SAAC!

Wisconsin's Fulton provides strong voice for SAAC -

Posted using ShareThis

Convention Wrap Up

As a new member of the Division I National Student Athlete Advisory Committee, I was extremely nervous about my first meeting. The fact that the meeting was in conjunction with the NCAA Convention didn’t help calm any of those butterflies either. First arriving in Atlanta from Colorado, I expected some nice southern weather, but apparently that doesn’t exist. There wasn’t much of a change from the frigid Colorado air to the frigid Georgia air. My flight got in really early that day, so all I could do was sit around and wait for people to show up. At first, I was exhausted and seriously lacking enthusiasm, however, as student-athletes from across the country began to gather, my energy grew. I knew I was going to have an amazing experience.

One would think that 14 hours of daily meetings would put a damper on a convention, but in my opinion that was the best part. I learned more in our daily meetings than I have learned in a long time and that is all due to the amazing members of SAAC. Each and every member of SAAC brings something different to the committee and everything they bring is valuable. I could write an entire blog entry on the members of SAAC alone, as well as the liaisons. A couple of things that I want to cover are the Division I Business Session as well as the Honors Celebration/Dinner.

Now for those of you who have never been to a NCAA Convention, believe me when I say it is a tad intimidating. When you walk in there are chairs for all of the delegates as well as microphones throughout for people to give speeches if they so choose. Being in the same room with university presidents, NCAA staff members and athletic administration from all over the country is a humbling and, quite frankly, a nerve-wrecking experience. But the fact is that every single one of them is there for the same purpose, to enhance the experiences of student-athletes, creates an electrifying atmosphere.

With two high profile and semi-controversial pieces of legislation up for override during the convention, my first business session and the preparation for it was interesting to say the least. Proposal 2008-46, in the simplest of terms, added another week to the baseball season, going from 13 weeks to 14 weeks. As student-athletes we felt that it was important that the season did extend, allowing for more rest for the baseball student-athletes, as well as, more scheduling flexibility to ensure less missed class time. Because this was so important to us, our chair, Matt Baysinger, gave an amazing speech to the entire business session. Proposal 2008-59 was the more controversial of the two; the override would take sand volleyball off of the Division I Emerging Sports List. When there was a motion to discuss this proposal, I could feel the tension in the room rising. Delegate after delegate walked up to a microphone to explain why people should support or oppose the override and our very own Danielle Neault gave a rousing speech about why people should oppose the override and allow sand volleyball to stay on the ESL. It was amazing to see the passion and viewpoints that all of the delegates brought to their speeches. It reminded me of how lucky I am to be a DI student-athlete because there are so many people working hard to make sure that I succeed in all ways possible.
On the final night of the convention there was the Honors Celebration and that was a real treat. The Honors Celebration is always on the last night of the convention and honors amazing people that have truly amazing stories. The Top VIII is a group of student athletes who showed an interest in not only being the best at their sport but also to academics and community service. Some of the Top VIII included Tim Tebow of the University of Florida, Courtney Kupets of the University of Georgia and Jeff Lerg of Michigan State.

The Silver Honorees were all former student-athletes on their 25th Anniversary of graduation. Doug Flutie, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Maureen O-Toole Purcell were just a few of the Silver Honorees. All of them had done great things throughout their lives, but I think the most important thing was that they all stood for what being a student-athlete can do for you in the long run. The NCAA also awarded the two awards of Valor; one to Richard Phillips and the other to Roxana Saberi. Phillips was the captain of the merchant ship that got attacked by Somalian pirates last year. But the most amazing part of this story was that he allowed himself to be kidnapped in order to protect the lives of the men and women on his ship. Saberi, a journalist, was arrested and had an unannounced trial where she was sentenced to eight years in an Iranian jail. She was not allowed visitors for some time and was put through all types of mental torture while in captivity. Exactly 100 days after her arrest, Saberi was released and has since been seen as a hero all over the country. There were two Inspiration awards given out: one to the Bluffton baseball team and the other to Lieutenant Colonel Gregory Gadson. The Bluffton baseball team lost five members in 2007 in a bus crash on the way to their season opener in Florida. A month after the accident, the remaining team members and the coaches decided that it was important to continue playing for the players that couldn’t be there. Gadson, a former football student-athlete from West Point, lost both of his legs to an improvised explosive device in Iraq. Gadson didn’t allow this incident to end his life and is a testament to us all that obstacles only stay in our way if we allow them to.

Something that was true about all of the honorees was that even though they had all done amazing things and had amazing stories; they were some of the most humble people I have ever met.

I have been lucky in my life to meet many different people but the people that I meet during the week of January 11-16 were and will remain unforgettable and I can’t wait until the next meeting.

Eugene Daniels
Colorado State University
Mountain West Conference
Division I National SAAC Member

Convention Blog

The 104th NCAA Convention in Atlanta, Georgia was a great one for the DI National Student Athlete Advisory Committee. It served as a powerful reminder as to how much work we have put in during this past year and also how much more work lies ahead of us.

Convention offers opportunities for us to interact with many different administrators from campuses and conferences around the country, and to have the student-athlete voice be heard by the schools in attendance. At convention, SAAC is given the opportunity to meet with three of the most influential groups within the entire NCAA: the leadership council, the legislative council and the board of directors.

The leadership council is comprised of mainly higher administrators and experienced faculty members. They discuss broad topics facing the NCAA in the coming years and propose with strategies to tackle them.

The legislative council is the group that deals exclusively with voting on each year’s proposals each year which include everything from length of seasons to the role of text messaging in the recruiting process. Each conference has one representative on the Legislative Council.

Finally, the board of directors is a group of university presidents who are charged with leading the NCAA.

As you can see, these three groups are incredibly important when it comes to the rules and regulations of the NCAA – and SAAC has a chance to meet with each of these groups during our time at convention.

A big takeaway from our meeting this year was just how important the student-athlete voice is going to be over this coming year. It looks like there could be changes to NCAA regulations on recruiting, non-athletic financial aid, amateurism, men’s basketball and men’s football. Needless to say, SAAC has its plate full for this upcoming year.

As these changes are proposed, it is incredibly important that we hear views from all types of student-athletes. Each of the 31 members of National SAAC will be in touch with their conferences to collect important feedback that could shape what the NCAA looks like in the future. It is comforting to know that student-athletes have a voice on a national level. After all, the NCAA exists for the student-athletes.