Tuesday, May 15, 2018

National SAAC April Meeting Report

Use this link:

National SAAC April Meeting Report

... to view the summary of the most recent NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee meeting.

A particular highlight is the discussion about the new "SAAC Associate Members" program:
  • Following the adoption of Amended Proposal No. 2018-3-1 at the 2018 Convention, SAAC worked on plans to implement the new partner conference liaison structure, including developing policies to maximize the impact of the liaisons and effectiveness of the committee.
  • The SAAC voted to call the new liaisons SAAC Associate Members (SAM) and are currently working on policies and procedures that would outline the parameters of their responsibilities. Discussed legislative issues.
  • Because of the legislation's effective date (August 1, 2018), the SAM's earliest participation will be the 2018 fall teleconference, typically held in September or October. Stay tuned for more information on the SAM selection process.
Remember the Iowa Conference will be eligible for one of these SAM spots when Parker Hammel's service on SAAC concludes in January.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Central Hosts Peer Physical Education Field Day

On Friday, April 20 Central College partnered with the Little Hawkeye Conference (middle/high schools) to host a Peer Physical Education Field Day. This was a Special Olympics-like event that inspired all who attended.

Over 150 students from Pella, Norwalk, Indianola, and Oskaloosa school districts met at the H.S. Kuyper Fieldhouse to engage in a variety of activities. Stations included mini golf, disc golf, pickleball, soccer, bag toss, ladder golf, bocce ball, parachute, kickball and yoga.

We had approximately 30 Central College students (most student-athletes, others are education majors) facilitate each station. Photos in order (top to bottom): Trevor Kimm '20 (baseball); Tyler Brant '19 (football); Ellie Stoakes '18 (volleyball); Brady Johnson '20 (football); Lynzie Miller '19 and Whitney Burgardt '19 (both track & field).

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Wartburg's Unified Sports Day a Special Tradition

Wartburg held its 20th annual Unified Sports Day on Sunday, March 18 with nearly 125 volunteers and 51 special athletes registered for the day. Wartburg teamed up with Special Olympics Iowa and the Waverly Kiwanis Club again this year to put on another successful event.

The Waverly Kiwanis Club assisted with many aspects of the day including serving the volunteers and athletes lunch. The Wartburg Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) was the campus sponsor for this event as part of the NCAA Division III Special Olympics partnership.

There were 20 stations of activities for the Special Olympic Athletes such as soccer, baseball, basketball, bowling, bocce ball, ladder golf, bag toss, musical chairs, golf, parachute, dodgeball, frisbee, and a craft table where the athletes made picture frames. Each team spent time at every station and the day ended with a big volleyball game and awards ceremony for the athletes. Everyone took a sack lunch to go that was provided by Kiwanis volunteers. 

"I love everything about this day but it was especially fun seeing the laughter and smiles on the athletes faces as they participated in the activities," said SAAC executive team member, Nicole Adair. "Even after rescheduling the event, the day was a huge success and it was great to see the volunteers and athletes come together and interact throughout the day."

"My favorite part of the day was seeing the smiles on the athletes faces and all the Wartburg students interacting with the athletes throughout the day and giving some of their time to volunteer for this event," said women's basketball player Miranda Murphy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

NWU Softball Bowls with Special Olympians

Players and coaches from the Nebraska Wesleyan softball program volunteered with Special Olympics on three different occasions in January and February, and will do so again in April. Bowling at Sun Valley Lanes was the activity January 20 and 21, and basketball was the sport of choice February 17. Special Olympics track and field athletes will come to NWU's Abel Stadium April 23 for another fun- and competition-filled day.

About Division III's connection with Special Olympics
The Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) initiated the partnership at the 2011 NCAA Convention and officially launched the partnership on August 1, 2011.  The purpose of the partnership is to enhance the lives of Division III student-athletes and Special Olympics athletes through a mutual learning experience; provide a platform for recognition of Special Olympics athletes and Division III student-athletes within their communities; and raise awareness of Special Olympics, its programs and services.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Luther Hosts Annual Norse Awards

Submitted by Madilyn Heinke, Luther SAAC:

On Sunday, February 18 the annual Norse Awards took place in Regents Center to celebrate the dedication and success of Luther College Athletics. With over 400 student athletes and coaches in attendance, Kenny and Jane Wheeler (pictured below with Alex Smith, far left, and Jeff Wettach, far right) accepted the first Jeff Wettach Alumni Coach of the Year award. Both coaches are Luther grads who went on to share their life and the head coaching positions for the Track and Cross Country teams at Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf, Iowa. The two share their success with over 100 members on their Track & Field team. While the two are not coaching they are spending time with their three daughters.

The Alumni Coach of the Year was named the Jeff Wettach Alumni Coach of the Year Award in honor of Luther’s Track and Field coach, Coach Jeff Wettach. Coach Wettach has shared his talents for over 30 years with Luther College students and athletes. He has coached Track and Field along with Football. Coach has not only touched the lives of many athletes but students as well through his teaching of Adaptive PE. Coach was honored with the award dedication and will forever have a place in Luther College history as a man who has helped to shape the lives of many Luther students.

The night continued with host, Brian Solberg. The 2016-17 teams took a look back on a year of successful Luther sports and shared some laughs along the way. The 2018 Senior class of student coaches, managers, and athletic trainers were recognized for everything they do. Nine Awards were given to athletes and teams for their outstanding accomplishments:
  • Record Breaking Performance - Women’s Golf
  • Jeff Wettach Coach of the Year - Kenny and Jane Wheeler
  • Play of the Year - Ben Keller and Andrew Avram
  • Comeback of the Year - Men’s Basketball
  • Freshman Male Athlete of the Year - Matthew Staver
  • Female Athlete of the Year - Laura Hamilton
  • Male Athlete of the Year - Justin Kreiter
  • Female Athlete of the Year - Anna Strien
  • Team of the Year - Football
Congratulations to all Luther College Athletes and Coaches on a year full of success and wonderful memories. Head wrestling coach Dave Mitchell, pictured below, and the rest of the crowd enjoyed the evening.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wartburg Hosts Unified Sports Day

Wartburg held its 18th annual Unified Sports Day on Saturday February 13 with nearly 240 volunteers and special athletes registered for the day. Again this year, Wartburg partnered with Special Olympics Iowa and the Waverly Kiwanis Club to have another successful event.  The Waverly Kiwanis Club assists with registration, serves lunch and gives a financial donation to Special Olympics Iowa. The Wartburg Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is the campus sponsor for the event as part of the NCAA Division III Special Olympics partnership. The day was filled with many activities including bowling, parachute, ladder golf, bean bag toss, volleyball, basketball, soccer and a picture frame craft. Always a highlight of the event is the basketball game with special athletes versus the Wartburg student volunteers – again this year the Special Olympics athletes won the game!

Friday, January 22, 2016

UD Athletes Volunteer at Special Olympics

Iowa Special Olympics held its Winter Games in the Dubuque area earlier this month. Pictured are UD Spartan volunteers Mike Huck (WREST) and Izaiah Lavatai (TRACK).