Monday, November 16, 2015

Central to Conduct Food Drive

Please see this post from the Central College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. The group will conduct a Food Drive at Wednesday's basketball doubleheader.

Click here for story on Central College's website.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Fall 2015 Meeting Summary

Two representatives from each Iowa Conference school's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee met with athletics administrators from all eight schools this past Sunday at the Cedar Rapids Marriott. The purpose of the annual in-person meeting is to share best practices about the various SAAC activities on each campus and to provide feedback on legislative proposals at the upcoming NCAA Convention (January) and Iowa Conference Management Council meeting (November 16).

Buena Vista tries to have an event each month. Among those events, will be group participation in an after-school program where student-athletes will serve as additional helpers with the attendees. SAAC also sponsored a recent costume contest, and some are participating in "No-Shave November" to promote cancer prevention.
Central conducted one of its most successful blood drives ever. They also sponsored a sports nutritionist who came to campus to talk to the female student-athletes, in particular. The SAAC also has reached across campus for education from administration. The Student Life office, for example, conducted a session on sexual assault, which is an important topic on campuses nationally.
Coe has participated in an "America Reads" walk-a-thon. They're also looking at an upcoming social function billed as a "Family Feast" in which student-athletes will bring a potluck dish for a department-wide bonding event. The SAAC also sponsors an Espys-like program later in the year that recognizes student-athletes for excellence on and off the field.
Dubuque is attempting to integrate its SAAC into some existing programs sponsored by the entire institution. Each year, the campus volunteers to clean a local park in the city. The school also is involved in a city-sponsored "Dream Center." The organization works to encourage and motivate underprivileged youth as role models.
Loras recently conducted a Talent Show in which teams were paired and had to come up with a dance skit. Coe also has been thinking about this idea, and the Loras reps had good advice. For Division III Week last year, SAAC sponsored a cookout at the scheduled softball doubleheader. Loras also sponsored a "Take a Kid to the Game" event for a September soccer doubleheader.
Luther will be trying a new Special Olympics project this year. "Unity Bowl" will pair Special Olympics athletes with Luther student-athletes for an on-campus program followed by a trip to a local bowling alley. Luther also revived an annual pep rally. Billed as the "Rally in the Valley," it was a great kickoff to Homecoming weekend.
Simpson is looking to partner with Indianola High School, which does a big Special Olympics activity. SAAC also has been involved in the campus's "Rally to Stop Hunger." Dance Marathon, a popular activity on college campuses nationally, comes to Simpson this year. SAAC will have a role in planning and conducting the event. SAAC also sponsors a year-end athletics banquet.
Wartburg conducts annual projects with great success. The group is doing the Northeast Iowa Food Bank Backpack Pack on November 17. SAAC is involved heavily annually in the Special Olympics Unified Sports Day. Something new this year was a series of sessions that provided leadership training to student-athletes. SAAC will sponsor a Bystander Intervention training program in January.

NCAA Legislation
The group provided input on three key NCAA proposals that will be voted in January.

* Deregulation of Electronic Transmissions -- This proposal would eliminate many of the coach/ administrator limitations on social-media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Currently, a coach or individual sport page or feed may not "Like" or "Follow" a prospect. Public posting on Facebook pages and Twitter feeds also is impermissible. The IIAC SAAC voted 4-12 against the proposal, citing intrusion and borderline unprofessional aspects of college coaches' communication with prospects. Supporters noted this is the way young people communicate, and Division III should allow for as aggressive a recruiting platform as possible since we don't allow athletics scholarships.

* Football Nontraditional Season -- Considered for the second straight Convention, this proposal would allow a full-blown spring practice for football. Currently, all that's permitted is non-contact, non-padded conditioning sessions. The Conference SAAC voted 14-2 in favor of adopting the nontraditional season, citing better preparation for the following season and equity with the other fall sports that practice formally in the spring.

* Institutional Fundraisers Involving Athletics Ability -- The Iowa Conference and the University Athletic Association are cosponsoring this. It would allow, on a voluntary basis, a student-athlete to participate in these fundraisers out-of-season. The example given was the member of the golf team that participates in a par 3 challenge at the athletics department's annual golf outing. The student-athlete is not required to be there and is not being directed by the coach or any staff member in any way. The IIAC SAAC supported the proposal, 16-0.

IIAC Fall Meeting Legislation
The group provided input on a couple of the proposals that will be considered by the IIAC Management Council on November 16. None rose to the level of taking an actual vote.

Action Items
* Forward SAAC activities write-ups and photos to be posted on this blog.
* Emphasis on sportsmanship and diversity programming; the conference office would like to see the hashtag #IIACUnited when these programs are publicized (on Twitter or not, given the hashtag sign is well-known everywhere).
* An February conference call to review action steps, discuss NCAA Convention actions, and preview the Iowa Conference spring legislative agenda. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Coe Hosts Annual Special Olympics Program

Coe hosted its Special Olympics Track and Field Event on Saturday, April 11th.  There were over 200 Special Olympics athletes that competed, and Coe had 70 student-athletes/coaches who volunteered. Volunteers helped out as 'high-fivers,' event staff or one-on-one guides. This is a great annual event and a significant way that Coe supports Division III's partnership with the Special Olympics. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Wartburg Hosts Unified Sports Day

Wartburg College hosted its 17th annual Unified Sports Day on Saturday, February 14 at the Wartburg/Waverly Sports and Wellness Center. The event had about 300 registered athletes and Wartburg student partners who participated in basketball, volleyball, bocce ball, bowling, ladder golf, parachute, crafts and more. Special Olympics Iowa was represented by Michelle Haney, who organizes these events throughout Iowa. Monica Severson, Associate Director of Athletics, is the Wartburg contact and organizes the event along with the Wartburg Student Athlete Advisory Committee. The Kiwanis Club of Greater Waverly and the Principal Financial Group continued their financial support of Unified Sports Day as well as providing volunteers who assist with registration and serve lunch to help the event be a success.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Recap of Conference SAAC Meeting

The Iowa Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee conducted its annual in-person meeting yesterday at Centennial Oaks Golf Club in Waverly. The group shared the many activities that either have taken place already this year as well as ones that are scheduled for later. Several schools have planned Special Olympics programs in keeping with the national NCAA SAAC emphasis on that worthy charity.

Each school was asked to come with an institutional vote on some of the more prominent legislation that will be considered this January at the NCAA Convention in Washington, D.C. Following is a summary of the voting:

* There is a proposal that would reduce by 10% in all sports except football the number of contests or dates of competition. The Iowa Conference SAAC opposes that proposal unanimously. Competition is of utmost importance to the student-athletes, and while they acknowledge some financial benefit, that benefit doesn't outweigh reduced competitive experiences.

* Another proposal would allow off-campus contact after a prospective student-athlete's (PSA) sophomore year. Currently, that contact may occur only after the junior year. The SAAC vote on that proposal was 3-5, opposed. The opposition cited more pressure on the PSA and that this important process shouldn't begin at an even earlier age from a maturity standpoint. Those in favor said developing relationships earlier would be beneficial.

* Legislation that would allow an on-campus evaluation (testing, observation, etc.) will be voted up or down. The evaluation has stipulations like arriving with the necessary NCAA medical documentation, a two-hour time limit, and only one evaluation per school / per student-athlete / per day. The conference SAAC is unanimously opposed to this legislation. Obtaining the documentation would be difficult as would scheduling the evaluations. Because many schools in the conference are close enough to each for multiple visits in a day, the group felt the one-day restriction puts more pressure on the PSA.

* Currently, a coach may not have contact with a PSA on each day of a consecutive-day event. The coach must wait until the very end of the event to have contact. Currently, If there is a day in between competitions, the coach is permitted to have contact at the end of that day. That creates some confusion, which makes passing this legislation easier on coaches. The conference SAAC unanimously supports this proposal.

* While PSAs are permitted to hold their own acceptance ceremony (without the presence of the college coach, administrator, etc.), there's never been an approved document for the PSA to actually sign. If passed in January, the "celebratory signing document" would have official, non-binding NCAA language for use at these ceremonies. The conference SAAC unanimously supports this proposal.

* The sport of football currently doesn't have a nontraditional season like other sports. The non-contact "Strength and Conditioning Period" in the spring allows only a football and blocking shields, and no other equipment. The membership will vote on establishing a full nontraditional season with full equipment, contact, etc. The conference SAAC favored this proposal by a 4-3-1 vote. Those in favor cited equity and the fact that equipment is necessary for a meaningful football practice. Also noted was the current permissiveness of 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills that inevitably involve contact. Among the arguments to oppose was the heightened concern about head injuries; this would create more contact and, possibly, more head injuries. Staff (namely athletic training) and facilities strain were two other opposition arguments.

The conference SAAC also reviewed and provided votes on Iowa Conference legislative proposals on the agenda for this Monday's meeting of the Management Council (Faculty Athletics Representatives and Athletic Administrators).

Action steps that came out of the meeting:

* A conference call after the NCAA Convention to review what happened with the legislation.
* Forward SAAC activities write-ups and photos to be posted on this blog.
* Emphasis on sportsmanship and diversity programming; the conference office would like to see the hashtag #IIACUnited when these programs are publicized (on Twitter or not, given the hashtag sign is well-known everywhere).
* Special emphasis on positive use of the social-media site "Yik-Yak," which allows for anonymous posting within a certain radius of a campus.

* An end-of-year conference call to review action steps and to preview the Iowa Conference spring legislative agenda.    

Thursday, November 6, 2014

It's "Beaver Youth Day" in Storm Lake

This from Becca Pennington, SAAC President at Buena Vista University:

Beaver Youth Day was an event held on Saturday, October 18th during our home football game. This event allowed all students through the 8th grade who attend the game with a supervising adult to have free admission. Upon entering the gate, kids received a BVU water bottle, free popcorn, free beaver tattoos, and entered their names for door prizes. We had a wonderful turnout of at least 130 kids and had wonderful weather.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Iowa Conference Meeting This Sunday, November 9

The annual meeting of the Iowa Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is this Sunday, November 9th at Centennial Oaks Golf Club in Waverly. Here's the agenda for the meeting:

Iowa Conference SAAC Meeting
November 9
Waverly, Iowa -- Centennial Oaks Golf Club

11:00a Arrival / Lunch
11:45a Meeting Begins

1. Opening Remarks
Jennifer Thompson, SAAC Liaison, Buena Vista
Chuck Yrigoyen, IIAC Commissioner

2. Introductions / Campus SAAC Activities

3. NCAA Legislation
-- 10% Reduction in Contests
-- Recruiting Working Group
  • Contact after Sophomore Year
  • Contact on All Days of a Multi-Day Event
  • On-campus Evaluation
  • Celebratory Signing Letter

-- Nontraditional Season in Football
-- Other Questions about Proposals?

4. Iowa Conference Legislation
-- Sportsmanship Teams
-- Announcement of Acceptance
-- February 1 Start Date for Baseball / Softball
-- Sixth-Man Award for Men’s Basketball
-- Soccer “Plan of Improvement”
-- Elimination of Consolation Bracket in IIAC Tennis Tournaments
-- Change Outdoor Track & Field Date to Three Weeks Prior to Nationals
-- Ensure Schools are Able to Use Full 22 Weeks in Track & Field Season

5. Sportsmanship / Diversity Initiative

6. Spring Conference Call?

7. New Business / Q&A