Student-athlete committee advices NCAA on policies

by Ashley Van Alstine

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is a group with a strong message but low student-body awareness. The committee is made up of student-athletes who are assembled to provide insight on the student-athlete experience. SAAC offers input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes’ lives on NCAA member institution campuses.

“SAAC is here to provide a voice for NCAA Iowa conference structure,” Lana Smith, volleyball coach and senior women’s administrator said. “SAAC students respond to proposed NCAA/IIAC legislation. We recommend potential NCAA legislation, and participate in the administrative process of athletic programs and we work to promote a positive student-athlete image. SAAC is here for all those reasons, we are the voice and link between Iowa conference and the NCAA.”

According to the organizations’ official statement, the purpose of SAAC is to act as a liaison between the school’s athletic department and its student-athletes regarding the needs and concerns that impact on their academic performance, athletic concerns and personal well-being.

Senior Bradi Smith, president of the group, said in order to get people to know about their organization, they are always trying to create more awareness of who they are and what they do.

“We sponsor events like Student Athlete Day, and help at the golf tournament which is put on by the school,” Smith said. “We do spirit days – we try to do at least one for each sport at the games. We also attend the conference SAAC meeting in the fall where we represent the student-athletes’ stands on policy changes and concerns. And last year we started something we would like to do annually, Storm Spring Games. It’s just a day of fun for athletes and those not on athletic teams to come out and participate in crazy games, get prizes, and eat some free food.”

The group wants not only to positively represent the athletes at Simpson, but to get the student-athletes as well as the fans to be interested in what SAAC does for them.

“My favorite part is getting to know the other athletes on campus, and having a say in the ways in which we, as athletes, can represent Simpson in a positive light,” senior, and SAAC Vice President, Heather Beeler said.

She said that the biggest thing that the group has done to get involvement is the spring games.”

“We have implemented the ‘Storm Spring Games,’ which is a big event where both athletes and non-athletes alike can come together and get to know people on other teams and involved in different things,” Beeler said. “Last year was our first year, and it was a success. We’ll be doing it again this year, as we’ve established it as an annual event.”

The group continues to try and build from the foundation that was established in 1989 by NCAA participants.

“Our goal is to increase communication with the numerous connections that we have,” sophomore Martha Davis said. “More and more we need to pass on information to our respective members. SAAC represents the athletes and it is our duty to let them know what actions we are taking and what is changing with the NCAA.”