Welcome to the online version of SAAC Speaks. For those of you who are new, this is the official blog/newsletter of the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). We are a group of 31 student-athletes, one from every multi-sport conference, who are dedicated to pursuing initiatives that will increase the well being of all DI student-athletes.

We have been producing a newsletter for quite some time now, but our hope is that this online version will be easier to read, easier to access, and easier to follow. It will also allow us the opportunity to have better dialogue with student-athletes all over the country. Some our posts will be strictly business, some will ask for help, and some will be off the cuff. Either way, we are happy you are here!

To catch you up on a few things, the 2008 NCAA Convention marked the end of an era for the Division I governance structure. For the first time since August 1997, the Division I legislative cycle operated without a Management Council. With the former Management Council being split into the Leadership Council and Legislative Council, the DI National SAAC had the opportunity to have twice the input in the divisional governance structure. Kerry Kenny, the outgoing chair of our committee, served as our representative on the Leadership Council while I participated in Legislative Council meetings. Heading into Convention, the members of our committee were unsure if our voices would be recognized like they were previously. As Convention progressed, however, we were amazed to realize the impact our voice garnered under the new governance structure. Not only were there were numerous opportunities where National SAAC members offered their insights on panels, but we also gave presentations to various constituents to ensure that our voice will continue to be heard in the new governance structure. In all, the NCAA Convention was a huge success for all Division I student-athletes. While it has been an intriguing journey to see where the National SAAC has come in the last five years, I cannot begin to describe how excited I am for the next year.

Over the next year, one of our main objectives as a National SAAC is to be proactive in our approach to legislation and hot-button issues. In the past, we have had no other option but to be reactive in our feedback and discussion on upcoming legislation. For the first time, the National SAAC will have the opportunity to work with conferences and institutions to have a voice in proposed legislation. While this does not mean that we have the authorization to pen legislation, it does means that legislative bodies have made efforts to solicit advice and feedback before they write their legislation. If we, as student-athletes have the opportunity to push legislation from its roots, there will be no question that it will have the best interest of student-athlete well-being in mind.

In an effort to recognize great achievements going on around the country, we have created a National SAAC Award of Excellence. We realize that there are SAACs across the nation making tremendous progress in different ways in their communities and on their campuses. With all that we do as student-athletes, it never ceases to amaze me when I read about all of the wonderful things that student-athletes are able to accomplish. The time has come for you to be recognized for your outstanding work as SAAC Award of Excellence. We realize that there are SAACs across the nation making tremendous progress in different ways in their communities and on their campuses. With all that we do as student-athletes, it never ceases to amaze me when I read about all of the wonderful things that student-athletes are able to accomplish. The time has come for you to be recognized for your outstanding work as SAAC groups. Please be sure to pass this information along to your respective campus SAACs. I will post again in a week or so with details about the award.

Finally, the National SAAC is going to continue to ensure that it is speaking out on behalf of all student-athletes. When we look back on our college experiences in 50 years, I am quite sure that it will be defined by not only what we did in the classroom and playing field, but also in the relationships that we built along the way. In building these relationships, it is so important that we are able to communicate quickly as a body of 160,000 student-athletes. This may seem like quite a daunting task, but through social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube, I believe that we can truly speak as one division and one voice. Our official Facebook group, One Division, One Voice, I am a NCAA Division I Student-Athlete is growing every day. If you have not already joined, I would encourage you to do so, and spread the word to your teammates. The representation of 160,000 student-athletes is much more powerful as a solitary voice.

From the seat of the chair, it is my honor to serve all of you. With 160,000 student-athletes, 342 schools, 31 conferences, we are: One Division, One Voice.

Matt Baysinger
University of Kansas
Chair, NCAA Division I SAAC
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