Commercialism, Kickball, and Aladdin.These diverse topics are what really stood out to me when I went to my first Division I National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee meeting, held in Denver, Colorado from July 16-19. I did not know what to expect prior to the meeting, but it turned out to be one of the best experiences in my life.The trip got off to a great start when I made my connecting flight from Dallas to Denver.I usually miss my connecting flight, so this was a sign of a great weekend to come.Upon arriving in Denver, I got to my hotel quickly, unpacked, and took a quick nap.After a little while, I was woken up by my roommate for the weekend, Jarrett Newby, the Conference USA representative.Jarrett, a veteran of the National SAAC, gave me some quick tips on what to expect.He also told me about how interesting the conversations would be during the meetings and also how great everyone on the committee was.By this time it was dinner, and we then went out to the Cheesecake Factory where I met more members from the SAAC.

The next morning we had our first meeting.At the meeting, I had a chance to meet the remaining committee members.I really enjoyed the subject matter and all the conversations in which I took part.One of my favorite memories from the trip occurred when I introduced myself at the joint SAAC meeting.In addition to a standard introduction—saying what conference you were representing—we then had sing two lines from your favorite song.Unfazed, I decided to go first.Much to the surprise of everyone, I sang A Whole New World from Aladdin.After I finished, I received a rousing ovation.This was something I was very proud of considering it is not often that I sing in front of a large group.

After displaying my amazing singing skills, we went to the Jackie Robinson Sports Center.Here, all of the SAAC members worked with Special Olympic athletes on some softball drills.This experience was extremely rewarding and enriching.Following the softball drills, the Division I SAAC members played the Division II and III members in kickball.During the first game I would become a goat for striking out, which is sad considering I play soccer.I, however, did gain some kickball respect five minutes later when I made a great diving catch.Although we lost to the Division III team, we had a great time.

Additional meetings occurred over the next couple of days, and we discussed many important issues.My favorite conversation was when we discussed the topic of commercialism with Greg Shaheen, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball and Business Strategies.Overall I had an awesome experience in Denver, and I am looking forward to my future endeavors with the Division I SAAC.

Zach Solomon, The Patriot League
There seems to be a lot of hoopla about the story that broke on Friday involving The University of Michigan and the allegations that their football team was over the 20 hour limit. I have no idea what is going on in Wolverine country, but I do know that there are a number of common misconceptions that student-athletes have about 20-hour and 8-hour practice limitations.

I have had the opportunity to attend a number of NCAA Regional Leadership and NCAA Student-Athlete Development conferences over the past two years as a member of National SAAC. Without fail, at every conference there have been a handful of student-athletes who approach me because they think they are well above the 20-hour practice rule that is in use by the NCAA. After a brief discussion with the student-athletes, it is common that we realize that they have not broken the 20-hour rule, they simply don’t understand it. This is not to say that this rule is always followed. I am sure that there are a number of instances where student-athletes are going over their allowable 20 hours. If this is the case, the best thing to do is to report this to your compliance officer. But before we all cry wolf, I think it is important that we truly understand what is allowable under the 20 hour practice limitations.

The 20 hour rule was adopted in 1991 to reduce the amount of required time students spend on athletically related activities for academics and college experience. It is crazy to think that this rule wasn’t always in existence, but apparently our grandparents not only had to walk to school uphill both ways, but they also were allowed to practice and compete as much as their coach desired. Where student-athletes get caught up under the current guidelines is in distinguishing between countable and non-countable related activities.

Here are some of the stipulations of the 20 hour rule.

1.To be countable, the purpose of a given activity must be monitored by coaching staff.

2.No student-athlete may have mandatory practice for more than 4 hours per day – with an exception for men’s and women’s golf.

3.Competition counts as 3 hours – even if your track meet lasts all day.

4.You must have one day off per week, though this can be your travel day to or from a competition.

5.Mandatory practice does not include time in the training room for getting taped/rehabilitated, or time that is not spent with your coach – often referred to as ‘captain’s practice’

6.You compliance team meeting, or other time spent incidental to participation also does not count. This could possibly even include time spent in the film room if coaches are not supervising.

7.In order for something to be ‘voluntary’, it must not be required that you report back to the coach. Voluntary workouts can also be conducted in athletics facilities as long as a coach is not directly supervising.

8.There are also a number of other stipulations for the 8 hour rule – for when you are out of season – that are equally important.

The fact of the matter is that the 20 hour rule is actually pretty black and white. It is our responsibility to eliminate the gray area by educating ourselves and our teammates on what is and is not permissible. Your campus compliance directors know this stuff like the back of their hands. If you have a question about it – ask! You are also welcome to contact your National SAAC representative if you need further clarification, or even if you just want to get the student-athlete perspective.

With all of the added treatments, tutoring sessions, and team meetings, our 20 hour max can often seem like 40 or 50 hours – but at least we have a max! If you still think your team is going over the limit, you should talk to your compliance director – and talk to your grandfather. He’ll be sure to tell you about the good ol’ days!

Matt Baysinger

Chair, NCAA Division I SAAC

University of Kansas

Big 12 Conference


*Please reference NCAA Bylaw 2.14 for further information as well.
This is your new blog post. Click here and start typing, or drag in elements from the top bar.
This is your new blog post. Click here and start typing, or drag in elements from the top bar.
On March 24th, the NCAA Division I Leadership Council approved the creation of the Division I National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Award of Excellence. This award is intended to showcase campus SAACs that have made great contributions to their respective communities.

The mission of the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is to enhance the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity, protecting student-athlete well being, and fostering a positive student-athlete image. Our hope was that this award would not only showcase the many positive accomplishments of SAACs all over the country, but also that it will spread awareness of the National SAAC and our position in the NCAA governance structure. The selection for the award was based on the following criteria:
a. Progress and growth of campus SAAC;
b. Community Service/Outreach;
c. Sportsmanship Initiatives;
d. Teamwork;
e. Originality; and
f. Leadership.
Selection could be based on any single category, or a combination of multiple categories. The selection committee is comprised entirely of NCAA Division I National SAAC members. When we opened the door for applications on the 20th of April, we were immediately overwhelmed with a tremendous response by SAACs all over the country. We knew that choosing a winner would be difficult, but we never could have imagined how complicated – and inspiring - the process would truly be. There are amazing things happening every day on all of our campuses, and it is our hope that every SAAC gets the recognition they deserve for their commitment to their institutions and communities.
In reading through the submissions, however, there were two schools that stood out among the rest. It is the honor and privilege of the NCAA Division I National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee to recognize the outstanding achievements of the SAACs at both North Dakota State University, and the University of Oregon.
North Dakota State University
The three defining pillars of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee at North Dakota State are Teamwork, Leadership, and Community Service/Outreach. When Fargo-Moorhead’s Red River started flooding in late March, the NDSU SAAC quickly stepped in to mobilize their teams in an effort to fight the flood threatening their community.

Over the five-day span, the student-athletes, cheer team, and student-athlete trainers spent over 7,200 hours sandbagging in and around the Fargo-Moorhead area – many working over 20 hours each. This number does not take into account the additional sandbagging done in anticipation of the second crest, or the sandbag removal efforts that are still taking place. The football student-athletes even traveled to Valley City State University to assist in their flood fight as well.
“This is a great way for us to give back to the community. The people of this area have done so much for us through the years,” said Lucas Moormann, a senior on the Men’s Basketball team. “As we saw down at the NCAA tournament, we have a ton of fans. This is one way to give back to them and help the community.”

The leadership shown by the North Dakota State University SAAC is a true testament to the very idea of community service. Both collectively and individually, all of the student-athletes – whether they were in state or out of state - articulated the need to give back to their “community.” The physical presence and emotional stability of NDSU team members was immeasurable as young and old were energized by the enthusiasm and encouragement provided by these young men and women to endure the ravages of the flood.

The accomplishment of the SAAC members, student-athletes, cheer team members and student-athletic trainers has not gone unnoticed, as several emails and notes of personal thanks were sent by homeowners who felt the efforts of these teams literally saved their homes. It is with a great amount of respect and humility that we, the NCAA Division I National SAAC, are proud to present the student-athletes of North Dakota State University with the National SAAC Award of Excellence. Your actions and demonstrated dedication to your community is simply outstanding. Congratulations.

The University of Oregon

On September 28, 2008 the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee at the University of Oregon launched a non-profit community organization program called Oregon Heroes. The goal of O Heroes was to create a single identity for all community service initiatives and to seek involvement from all student-athletes, staff, and faculty. O Heroes is focused in three areas which student-athletes feel they are able to excel in: health, education and service.

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee decided to launch O Heroes as a department recognized non-profit organization. This allows O Heroes to collect donations on campus grounds including athletic facilities. O Heroes is also able to donate money raised to service projects such as the Duckling, which provides financial support to a local child battling an illness.

“The SAAC has a long history of giving back in our community. But now we are able to extend our reach even further,” explained Matt Jacobson, a golf student-athlete at Oregon. “This program is unique in that it is run primarily by student-athletes. Now, we can incorporate all the service that student-athletes do under one initiative.”

SAAC executive members serve as the Board of Directors for O Heroes. At meetings, the student-athletes decide what service projects align with the goals of O Heroes and then plan and coordinate those projects, with support and guidance given by the Student-Athlete Development Office within the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

One of the highlights from the O Heroes initiative is called “Quackin’ Action”, a fun and educational event that provides over 300 local children the opportunity to meet and greet student-athletes as well as participate in a series of stations focused on health, education, nutrition, and fitness. The event is entirely organized and coordinated by SAAC.

Through O Heroes, Oregon’s student-athlete advisory committee has also taken initiative and formulated new relationships with campus groups including Greek Life. One example of this involves partnering with Delta Tau Delta, to participate in the Bleed Purple Volleyball Tournament, a philanthropic event to raise money for college students battling cancer.

Since the launching of O Heroes, community service has skyrocketed throughout the athletic department. The University of Oregon SAAC has demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to the O Heroes program and continues to make huge strides to create, implement, and share new ideas.

Because of their originality and ingenuity, the SAAC at the University of Oregon has made a remarkable difference in their community, and student-athletes are being recognized as something more than just stars on the playing field – they have become heroes. The NCAA Division I National SAAC is truly inspired by the effort and leadership of student-athletes at the University of Oregon, and your actions epitomize the positive values SAAC’s everywhere. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments.

The NCAA Division I National SAAC is honored to present both the University of Oregon and North Dakota State University with the Spring 2009 National SAAC Award of Excellence. We are encouraged and inspired by your efforts, and your example now sets the standard for excellence in promoting growth, community Service, outreach, sportsmanship, teamwork, originality, and leadership. Congratulations again on your outstanding achievement.

One Division, One Voice; The NCAA Division I National SAAC.
Over the past couple of years, the Faculty Athletics Representatives Association (FARA) and the National Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) have developed close ties. Last year in Minneapolis, along with Alan Hauser, FARA Past President, we attended the DI SAAC meeting in Minneapolis and came away very impressed with the workings of the group. As I mentioned to a number of my FAR colleagues, the passion and dedication that the members of the DI SAAC show in furthering the student-athlete experience is remarkable. In past years at the NCAA Convention, when SAAC members spoke in favor of or against specific pieces of legislation, people in the audience listen. In fact SAAC members have been some of the most eloquent speakers at these legislative sessions. In regards to panel participation at the most recent NCAA Convention in Washington, DC, Scott Krapf of Illinois State University represented the DI SAAC admirably with his presentation on our panel “Celebrating Student-Athletes on Campus.” At our last FARA Annual Meeting and Symposium in San Diego, several SAAC members participated on the FARA DI Legislative Review Committee (LRC) and also participated on a couple of panel sessions on exit interviews and communicating with campus constituencies. FARA will again invite DI SAAC members to participate on the LRC and on several panels. FARA will also request panel sessions at next year’s NCAA Convention in Atlanta that will have DI SAAC participation as a part of the panel session.
Past FARA President Alan Hauser and Kerry Kenny, past Chair DI SAAC, wrote short articles for our respective publications, FARA Voice and SAAC Speaks. This is an excellent means to further communicate with our respective organizations. During one of the sessions of the DI SAAC meetings in Washington, the group divided into sub-groups to discuss issues of concern for DI. I can provide some thoughts on a number of topics raised by the groups.
I believe a continued emphasis should be placed on bringing more FARs and DI SAAC members into the DI governance structure. Currently, nominations for various Cabinets, committees, etc. positions on these various bodies are done through the conferences. FARs need to work with their respective conferences to get nominated. There also needs to be a way of getting SAAC members on these groups. We would be willing to work with SAAC to help facilitate SAAC members becoming members on various groups within the governance structure. The student-athlete voice needs to be heard and this is an excellent way of doing so.
Academics continue to be an area where FARA and SAAC can cooperate together. Both of our groups stress the importance of developing effective academic support structures at universities. The proliferation of new academic support services buildings on campuses is only as good as the services that are provided to student-athletes. In other words, using millions of dollars to construct a new building is nothing if funds are lacking to provide needed academic support services to student-athletes.
An issue regarding student-athlete majors and the number of student-athlete in particular classes has been voiced at various universities. One concern is that student-athletes are directed towards specific majors to keep them eligible for competition. FARA strongly opposes this practice and encourages student-athletes to select majors that will further their career aspirations. The clustering of student-athletes in specific classes must also be monitored by universities. To some, this is something that should not be allowed. However, in these tough financial periods, many universities have reduced course offerings to the extent that there may only be one or two courses in a specific area. If this is the case, clustering may not be avoided.
The APR continues to be a hot topic for discussion. FARA believes that all student-athletes should be educated on all facets of the APR. However, a number of student-athletes have told FARs that they have not been given adequate education on the APR and the ramifications it has for individual sports and university athletics program. We would encourage student-athletes to go to their Athletic Directors and ask that APR education be provided to them.
The NCAA Task Force on Commercial Activities will soon issue its findings. Its charge was to “develop broad-based, consistent principles that will be translated into NCAA legislation affecting all sports and all commercial activity associated with athletics, with a special emphasis on the two issues that led to the formation of the task force: the use of student-athlete likeness, images and names, and the environment of postseason football in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. FARA members will be examining the Task Force report and will issue a position on its findings. We encourage the DI SAAC to do the same.
FARA is ready to work with the DI SAAC on issues of mutual concern. We are also working to develop close ties with the DII and DIII SAACs. Together, we can work to better provide for a better student-athlete campus experience – academics, athletics, and university community. We look forward to having SAAC members on our Legislative Review Committees and on being members of panels at our FARA Annual Meeting and Symposium and on FARA sponsored panels at NCAA Conventions.

Roger Caves
President, FARA
Professor of City Planning
San Diego State University
This is your new blog post. Click here and start typing, or drag in elements from the top bar.
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
Start blogging by creating a new post. You can edit or delete me by clicking under the comments. You can also customize your sidebar by dragging in elements from the top bar.