Look at the positive impact these student-athletes are having on their community:
- The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) hosted a blood drive for UW student-athletes and staff as part of the Big Ten Blood Drive Challenge on Wednesday. In total, SAAC collected 35 units of blood, which could help save up to 105 lives.

SAAC was just one of several student organizations across the Wisconsin campus that hosted blood drives for the conference-wide event.

Lauren Cochlin, president of SAAC and member of the Wisconsin women's soccer team said, "It's a competition between all of the Big Ten schools to see who can collect the most blood. The SAAC Blood Drive was merely a smaller part of the larger UW effort to compete in this drive."

Wednesday's blood drive marked SAAC's first paired effort with the American Red Cross and the Big Ten Blood Drive Challenge. 

"In the beginning of the year, we had our meeting to talk about what kind of events we wanted to put on as a group," Cochlin said. "We thought that a blood drive would be a great way to reach out to others. We wanted to put on an event that gave back to the community and to an organization that gives so much to us."

For a student-athlete organization, it was no question that a volunteer opportunity, paired with a competitive twist, would be the perfect community service effort for the group. 

"When I emailed the Red Cross, they suggested that we participate in the Big Ten Blood Drive," Cochlin said.  "It really fit for us as a student-athlete group to participate in the Big Ten Challenge. We are used to competition and this was a great way for us to participate in one off the field."

In its first year competing in the Challenge, SAAC reached its donation goal and hopes to continue the progress in future years. 

"We got our target number of donors this year," Cochlin said. "We had between 30-35 appointments booked and even a few walk-ins. We were really pleased that we were able to reach our target number for the first blood drive."

Among those participants and volunteers were student-athletes from several athletic teams including track, women's soccer, football and women's hockey. 

Cochlin hopes that next year SAAC can host a blood drive in each semester to cater to athletes who may not have been able to participate in Wednesday's blood drive because they were actively in season.

"We want to make sure that the opportunity to give blood is afforded to all student athletes and the timing of their athletic season," Cochlin said. "We were really happy with the results of the blood drive this year and we hope that we can get even more student-athletes and staff involved next year."

article retrieved from:  http://www.uwbadgers.com/sports/buckys-backyard/spec-rel/021811aaa.html
Driving up Interstate 35 through Austin and back to school in Waco, Texas, I could not remember a time in my life when I felt so empowered. I experienced my first NCAA Convention this year in San Antonio, and I did not know what I was getting myself into at the beginning of the week. After five busy days of meetings, luncheons and banquets our committee’s task to make the student-athlete’s voice heard had never been more imminent.

Just a few short months ago, we gathered in Indianapolis to vote on legislative proposals that could directly impact student-athletes. Behind closed doors, we listened to every conferences opinion ensuring that the student-athlete voice was taken into account on each proposal. Although it can be quite a laborious endeavor to pick apart the rhetoric of these potential rules, we know our conferences rely on us to get to the heart of the matter for the well-being of student-athletes. With our work cut out for us, we hastily planned for the 105th annual NCAA Convention, which would prove to be much more than we could’ve expected.

The NCAA Convention is our committee’s time to perform on the big stage, in what could be considered the “championship” part of Division I SAAC’s season.  The first days we finalized our positions on the proposals we had gathered feedback on since early October. We prepared to lead discussions with the groups at the top of the NCAA governance structure. The face-to-face interactions with faculty athletic representatives, athletic directors, NCAA staff, and presidents is extremely important, especially when it might be our only shot the entire year at voicing the opinions of the thousands of student-athletes to those who hold the vote.

Highlights of our meetings included dinner with the members of the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, lunch with the Legislative and Leadership Councils, breakfast with the Board of Directors, and a Q&A session with President Mark Emmert. Our discussions revolved around hot topics including recruiting, amateurism and agents, commercialism and the student-athlete voice.  The resounding theme throughout our discussions and interactions with the administrators was one of increased appreciation for and eagerness to hear what we had to say.

From President Emmert’s State of the Association speech we heard, “The business that we’re in is supporting students and helping them be successful in all their endeavors.” President Emmert emphasized the important role that student-athletes can play in influencing those individuals who propose and vote on the legislation. This statement came to life when the Executive Board, for the first time, proposed the presence of several student-athletes at their future meetings to provide the student-athlete voice.

In our closing meeting there was a sense of looming opportunity, yet responsibility, for the upcoming months on our campuses and in our conferences. It has been said, “To whom much is given, much is required.” With the opportunities our committee has been afforded, our platform is wider and stronger than ever. We understand that now is our time to reach a broader base of student-athletes so that one-year from now we can say in full confidence that we are the representatives and voice of over 140,000 Division I student-athletes. 

At the NCAA Convention, the National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) participated in a presentation about the importance of sports information directors.  Eric McDowell, the sports information director (SID) and assistant athletic director at Union College in Schenectady, New York addressed National SAAC representatives from all three divisions in San Antonio, Texas. 

Many questions arise with discussion about the media that encircles student-athletes. What is the best way to connect the success of student-athletes and their community? Not only are SID’s athletic departments’ statistic geniuses, and number one fans of their respective university, but they are also first on the scene at basketball and soccer games. They must be familiar with the most current communication technology (yes, that means the internet).

Twenty years ago, SIDs couldn’t predict they would be tweeting live plays via the Internet, or posting videos with commentary while the soccer game was actually happening. Nowadays, the SID is on the forefront of technology to present the latest scores and plays lightning-quick, so fans who are not at the game can stay in the know about their favorite college teams.

The SID is not only the media relations representative of the athletic department, but they can also be the student-athletes’ best friend. Whenever my grandparents check out our University of Portland sports media website they are always pleased to get to know my teammates on the posted roster. They also read the latest cross-country race recaps and scope out pictures of our coaches.  We as student athletes can help the SID keep our team information up-to-date by sending in pictures from competition, updating our biographies, or reminding our coaches to communicate results as soon as possible. Then community members (and grandparents) can stay connected with our latest athletic accomplishments.

Accordingly, the SID is a key element to any athletic department. Not only are the statistics from last night's game posted the moment they happen, but they are also presented in multiple formats using the most current technology. The National SAACs from all three divisions were pleasantly reminded that the SID can also be the right hand man in communicating the latest SAAC community service project, or current legislation that the SAAC is working on for fellow student-athletes. We are thankful to Eric McDowell for reminding us of the many roles the SID plays in our athletic departments and look forward to taking his message back to our own conferences and campuses.

By Michelle Brutlag Hosick

Scott Krapf sometimes can’t believe how far he’s come – from a “lowly freshman” cross country and track student-athlete from a small Illinois town just four years ago to the chairmanship of the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee in 2011.

The Illinois State student-athlete is awed by it all and grateful for the opportunity he has to influence Division I athletics.

“As I reflect, it goes back to the opportunities I’ve had, the people I’ve met and the experiences that have come through SAAC that fueled the fire to continue,” Krapf said. “It’s an experience that is life-changing and will be ingrained in my memories forever. I’m going to appreciate this.”

Krapf’s humble gratitude belies a steely resolve to make the student-athlete voice heard over the next year on local, conference and national platforms. A long-distance runner, Krapf is accustomed to working with a team while still showcasing his individual talents, and his approach to promoting student-athlete well-being through the Division I governance structure will be no different.

“It’s going to be critically important that everybody comes together from all the Councils and cabinets and committees. It’s crucial that we all have agendas that align. We need to make sure everyone’s opinions are heard,” Krapf said. “That’s the ultimate way student-athletes can be heard in the process.”

Another goal for Krapf as he leads SAAC this year is fostering more complete student-athlete engagement. The SAAC has taken first steps into multi-media and social media platforms with educational videos and a presence on a variety of social platforms.

“I really want to challenge the national and conference SAAC members to make sure we are reaching out to student-athletes at all levels, so when discussions happen with the leadership groups, I can confidently say this is how Division I student-athletes feel,” he said.

Krapf will wrap up a master’s degree in sports administration this May, a year after completing a degree in recreation and park administration in just three years. He is in the process of applying for law schools and hopes that a juris doctorate will open doors in several different athletics administration areas.

He came into college with the goal of earning a degree that would help him begin a sports program for inner-city kids, but his experience as a student-athlete taught him that he didn’t need to have a degree to start having an impact in the community.

“One of the best parts of being a student-athlete is the ability to share our talents and skills with others. Getting involved with the community through SAAC has shaped me in the most important way,” he said. “I had the opportunity to give back to primarily young children who may not know or have a role model. That’s been the most impactful thing for me, being able to give back in that way.”

When his eligibility expires after the upcoming outdoor track season, Krapf hopes he has reached a point where he can be content with and proud of all he’s accomplished as a student-athlete. He thinks he’s at least partway there now. He’s just not quite ready to let go of the mental discipline and physical preparation required of him every time he runs a race on a cross country course or 25 times around the outdoor track.

However his career as a runner ends, he knows that what he’s learned in every race he ran, the relationships he built through his teammates and his fellow SAAC members, will inspire him as he launches his career in collegiate athletics administration.

“It’s going to be important to continue to have the relationships with student-athletes who are able to pursue a dream like I was,” he said. “I want to be able to have an impact on their lives.”

Krapf’s term as Division I SAAC chair lasts until January 2012.

Story retrieved from: NC