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

Thursday, October 30, 2014

BV's Unified Sports Day a Huge Success

Apologies for not posting sooner!!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Central's Fall Blood Drive Leads Us Off for 2014-15!

We pick up where we left off. This from the Central Student-Athlete Advisory Committee on the heels of their April blood drive:

We just got confirmation of the results from yesterday’s blood drive:  88 donors gave 85 units of blood, with 35 first-time donors!  WAY TO GO!  This was the best blood drive that SAAC has ever sponsored!  The donations can help impact over 250 hospital patient lives.  Thank you for your efforts to make this blood drive a success.  We are awaiting the numbers from Simpson and Buena Vista’s blood drives to determine the Blood Battle winner. Whether we win the contest or not, great job in supporting this very worthy cause.

Alicia O'Brien and Katelin Gannon, Central College SAAC Advisors

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Central SAAC Sponsors Spring Blood Drive

These Central College SAAC members helped a SAAC-sponsored Spring Blood Drive at the school April 22nd. It was done in conjunction with LifeServe of Des Moines. Click here for their website.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Central SAAC Collects School Supplies for D-III Week Activity

The Central College SAAC sponsored a School Supplies Drive last week for the Children and Families Urban Mission in Des Moines. The drive was timed to coincide with NCAA Division III Week.  The group took donations all week and then set up at the baseball and softball games on Saturday for additional donations.  This photo shows some of the collected items.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Summary of Loras SAAC 2013-14 Activities

The Loras College Student Athletic Advisory Committee has had a busy year of events—and it is not over yet! Take a Kid to the Game Day has been a popular event during all sports seasons. In the fall and winter sport seasons, Football, Men’s and Women’s Soccer, and Men’s and Women’s Basketball all hosted the event. 
This spring, the sports teams hope to repeat the success of the events hosted last season. The Loras Softball team hosted a youth softball team from Sherrill, Iowa, The Sherrill Superstars, for last spring’s Take a Kid to the Game Day against Luther College. The Sherrill team has come to every softball camp this year during the fall and winter and Coach Peggy Hanson has requested the help of Duhawks at her team practices.
The Duhawk Talent Shows also has become a tradition on campus with the help of the Loras College SAAC. During the talent show a Men’s and a Women’s athletic team pair up and compete against their fellow Duhawks in a 1 minute performance. Last fall, the Loras College Women’s Volleyball and Men’s Swimming team took home the crown with their performance to Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball.” SAAC is planning another event to take place in the spring season, as well. The Talent Show has been a great way to bring all the athletic teams on campus together.
Over the holiday season, Loras College SAAC opened a campus wide Toys for Tots campaign. Each team found a way to donate in some way to the campaign, whether that was through working the Toys for Tots booth at athletic events or donating toys. 
At Loras College, the classroom is just as important as the field—athletes are always a student at Loras College first. For that reason, SAAC also had a Teacher Appreciation Social in the fall season. Professors, faculty, and staff at Loras College support and encourage student-athletes to pursue extra-curricular activities along with their academic career, and this day was used to thank these men and women for all they do for our student-athletes.
A final event to highlight from the fall season was the nine Loras College student-athletes who went to the Iowa Conference Student Athlete Leadership Conference. They brought back great ideas to SAAC! 
We also got together to take this photo in celebration of Loras's 175th anniversary. The SAAC is always looking for more ways to bring student-athletes and the Loras College community together!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wartburg Hosts Unified Sports Day

Wartburg College hosted its 16th annual Unified Sports Day on Saturday, February 8 at the W Wartburg-Waverly Sports and Wellness Center. The event was organized by a committee headed by Monica Severson, Associate Director of Athletics/SWA that included members of the Wartburg College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and students from the Wartburg student body along with staff members Paige Klostermann, assistant women’s golf coach, and Danielle Fiala, head women’s lacrosse coach. The Unified Sports Day committee works with Special Olympics Iowa staff and the Waverly Kiwanis Club to bring the event to campus each year. The Waverly Kiwanis Club donated $1,000 to Special Olympics Iowa to help fund the event and Thrivent donated $500. This year’s event had 150 students volunteer to be team members and 95 special athletes participate.
The day started off in Levick Arena where the athletes from northeast Iowa were put into 18 teams. Each team has a “team leader” and about 8-10 student volunteers that are with the special athletes throughout the day's activities. Our first activity is getting everyone on the gym floor to dance to favorites, like "YMCA." After our opening ceremonies the teams moved to the field house to participate in a variety of activities. The activities include parachute, hula hoops, volleyball with beach balls, bowling, bean bag toss, soccer, tee ball, bocce, and ladder golf. Each team takes a team picture and the special athletes make a picture frame for their team picture. After lunch, which is served by local Kiwanis members, we have a basketball game that has special athletes versus student volunteers. This is always a highlight for our athletes and volunteers. The closing ceremonies have each team leader talk about their team’s athletes and then give them their picture frame with the team picture and participation ribbon.
Here are some quotes from our volunteers:
Taylor Shaw, ’14 women’s soccer player, SAAC member and Unified Sports Day committee, “My favorite part of the event is seeing the smiles on the athletes' faces every time they make a basket, bowl a strike, or hit the baseball. It’s great to see our students working with these athletes and helping to brighten their day, week and even month.”
Abby Shannon, ’14 Unified Sports Day committee, “It is so heartwarming when a participant from past years recognizes your face and embraces you in a big hug! You can literally feel the happiness that the participants radiate which continues with them throughout the entire day! This has been a day of the school year that I always look forward to. It makes me sad to think I won’t be able to help next year after I graduate in May.”
Katie Horrigan, ’14 Unified Sports Day committee, “Unified Sports Day is an incredible experience that breaks down stereotypes to allow for a day of fun and competition. The positive energy in the Wartburg field house on USD is palpable. The athletes I have interacted with have truly changed my heart and I am so happy to have participated all four years. I will always remember it as some of the best days of my entire college experience.”
Cassi Ricci, ’14 women’s soccer student-athlete and team leader, “Working with these individuals has and always will be a passion of mine, but seeing what the student volunteers take away from experience is beyond rewarding. You can learn, grow, cherish, and embrace these moment with people that were at one point complete strangers to you; and by the end of the day have created memories and friendships that will never fade.”