The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) was adopted by the NCAA in 1989, formed primarily to review and offer student-athlete input on NCAA activities and proposed legislation that affect student-athlete welfare. NCAA legislation mandates that all member institutions have SAACs on their respective campuses. Last weekend, junior Kate Clawson (basketball) and senior Nick Busillo (baseball) represented Muhlenberg at the Centennial Conference SAAC Leadership Retreat. Here’s what they wrote about their experience:
(KC) The SAAC retreat was held at the Wyndham Hotel in Harrisburg, Pa., and was attended by 20 student-athletes, about two from each school. On Friday, when we arrived we met Keith Waldman, from OPA, who does team building with teams all over the nation. First, he led us through some team building activities to better get to know each other. All the athletes were very welcoming, as was Renee Fraker, the director of championships in our conference who put the retreat together.
(NB) There were two baseball players from Ursinus at the conference. It was funny because of course my natural instinct was to not like these kids, but they were both nice kids. Jokes and predictions were made, and that made things interesting, but all in all they were great kids and it was a great experience.
(KC) I really enjoyed the team building activities because each of them taught us things we could apply to accomplishing team goals, staying positive, learning from our mistakes and becoming better leaders. This was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip. We also brought along our resumes for the professional development portion of the weekend where we talked about the importance of networking and interview tips, which were very beneficial for everyone.
On Saturday we talked about issues that athletes face on campus and problem solving for each of the issues. Everyone shared their ideas, which were very helpful, and it was cool to see what each school had to say.
(NB) One common issue that I noticed was the balancing of sports and academics. Although presently we are not fans of the workload, we all recognized that in the long run this will all be beneficial for us. We all recognized that we are students first and that it comes with being a student-athlete.
(KC) Next we went over the proposals for new NCAA legislation. This was really important because it gave us as student-athletes a say in what regulations were being passed. We got to offer our opinions and knew that they were actually going to matter.
At the end of a long day on Saturday we met with members from the Special Olympics, had a pizza party and played bocce with them. We definitely had a thing or two to learn about bocce as we saw that the Special Olympics athletes weren’t taking it easy on us. I think we all got beat that day, but it was still really fun to hang out with them and learn from them. I think it taught us how determined the athletes of Special Olympics are, and it was pretty inspirational to hear some of their stories, one woman who got to go to China for the Olympics and had been a member since the 1970s.
Overall, I had a great weekend, met really influential people, and learned a lot that I can take back to the SAAC group as well as to Muhlenberg athletics as a whole.
(NB) During discussions I learned of all the fundraising activities that other schools are doing. I know Muhlenberg does their part in fundraising, but these schools had some great ideas that would not be bad thing for Muhlenberg to take a look into.
photos courtesy Centennial Conference