Understand the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee
The student-athlete advisory committee is made up for enhancing the student-athlete experience.
The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) represents the student-athlete voice in governance structures. The mission is to enhance the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity, protecting student-athlete welfare and fostering a positive student-athlete image. Through advisory committee at the campus, conference and national level, student-athletes have a say in the NCAA. Each committee is made up of student-athletes representatives, who are selected by their team members, to allow insight on the student-athlete experience and offer their thoughts on rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes’ lives on campus.
Understanding the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee
The SAAC functions by reviewing legislation, identifying significant student-athlete issues, implementing national student-athlete based initiatives, encouraging community outreach, and enhancing student-athlete involvement in the understanding of their division in general. There are three national SAACs for each division of the NCAA: Division I, II, and III.
Responsibilities of the national SAACs include amplifying the student-athlete voice within the NCAA structure, generating a response to proposed NCAA legislation, recommending legislation, reviewing and commenting on the governance structure on legislation, activities and subjects of interest, participating in the administrative process of athletic programs and NCAA and promoting a positive student-athlete image.
Responsibilities for the campus advisory committees include promoting communication between athletics administration and student-athletes, relaying information, providing feedback and insight to athletics department issues, amplifying student-athlete voice within the campus athletics department formulation policies, building a sense of community within athletics program, soliciting responses to proposed conference and NCAA legislation, organizing community service efforts, creating a vehicle for student-athlete representation on campus-wide committees and promoting a positive student-athlete image on campus. The advisory committee helps develop and increase efficient communication between student-athletes and administrative staff.
The main focus of the campus student-athlete advisory committees is to provide a tailored view so that they can offer specific campus insight to national SAACs to shape the landscape of intercollegiate athletics. The campus committee serves local and community student-athlete voices in addressing the issues of welfare at their respective institutions. Through a grass-roots approach of campus advisory committees, student-athletes can have a strong say.
Conference and Divisional SAACs
NCAA conference student-athlete advisory committees also have been created to strengthen communication between campus and national committees. Division I, II and III have different variations of participation and representation.
Members are selected from a pool of three nominees from each of the 32 Division I represented conferences. Student-athletes will serve a two-year term with the option for re-election if eligible. The Division I SAAC reports directly the Division I Leadership Council and one SAAC member participates in each meeting of the Leadership Council. SAAC members are represented on cabinets and committees within the Division I governance structure. This is how student-athletes offer insight and thoughts in shaping the proposed legislation.
“The mission of the Division I SAAC is to enhance the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity, protecting student-athlete well-being and fostering a positive student-athlete image… Division I SAAC members accept the responsibility of representing and participating on behalf of thousands of Division I student-athletes and are further entrusted with keeping both campus and conference committees educated on the relevant issues affecting Division I.”NCAA
Members are selected from each of the Division II multi-sport voting conferences, one student-athlete representative from each Division II multi-sport voting conferences, one student-athlete representative of Division II independent institutions and two student-athlete at-large positions. Division II holds a slightly different process for affecting legislation. An annual summit is held in July where members of student-athlete advisory committees have the opportunity to discuss proposed NCAA legislation with members of the Management Council. Division II representatives also participate in the NCAA Convention each January where the can voice concerns regarding Division II legislation.
“Division II national SAAC members actively take the lead in addressing issues facing Division II student-athletes such as the development of campus and conference SAACs, Title IX education, faculty/student-athlete relations and championships enhancements.”NCAA
The Division III SAAC has 24 members. Of those 24 members, 16 are chosen from each of the four Division III regions across the nation and eight student-athletes serve on the committee as at-large selections. Division III has two student-athletes are voting members of their Management Council where legislation is proposed from advisory committees. Then the Management Council can forward the proposed legislation to the Division III Presidents Council for approval. Once approved, legislation is voted on annually at the NCAA Convention in January by each Division III member institution to determine if it will become new legislation.
“The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) represents the Division III student-athlete voice in the Division III governance structure by reviewing legislation; identifying significant student-athlete issues; implementing national student-athlete based initiatives; encouraging community outreach, and enhancing Division III student-athlete involvement in and understanding of Division III in general.”NCAA
The Division III student-athlete advisory committee is responsible for maintaining and coordinating nationwide partnership with Special Olympics. The committee meets in-person four times each year in January, April, July and November and conducts teleconferences as needed.
Why It’s Important To Get Involved: Shape the landscape of intercollegiate athletics
Not only do members of a campus SAAC have the opportunity to address issues affecting student-athletes at their institution or conference, but members also have the opportunity to offer input on issues that may be national in scope. SAAC allows student-athletes to have a strong voice on campus. SAAC can change and help legislation to be tailored to its athletes in the most effective and efficient manner. Creating a channel of communication within an institution’s athletic departments among student-athletes, coaches and athletic administrators allows for feedback and insight that can be voiced adequately. Advisory committees help build a sense of community for student-athletes and give them a way to make their thoughts heard. This is an engaging way to improve the student-athlete experience and promote growth and education through sports participation.
This leadership role gives student-athletes perspective and experience while transitioning out of student life. To help future-proof your SAAC, contact us to learn more information about the necessary steps to becoming an effective leader.
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