After a number of delays at Washington Reagan International Airport, I arrived in Indianapolis late on Friday night for the July National DI SAAC meeting. Despite the hotel’s best attempts to keep me out of my room (three sets of keys that did not work), I managed to catch a few hours of sleep before our Saturday morning meetings began. As much as I love our raucous debates and our energetic brainstorming, it’s the amazing people that make this group so special. Getting to catch up with everyone at breakfast on Saturday, in addition to throughout the entire weekend, reminded me of why I love being a part of this committee.
We sailed through our meetings on Saturday. First, we had updates from our members who serve as liaisons to various NCAA cabinets and committees. Among several guest speakers was Jeremiah Carter, whowas kind enough to speak to the group about recruiting models. We also spent a good amount of time electing new SAAC liaisons to an assortment of NCAA cabinets and committees. Our liaisons are extremely important to what we do; these members are essential because they represent the voice of DI SAAC and, consequently, all Division I student-athletes when the cabinets and committees are writing legislation and formulating best practice recommendations. In addition to this, we also spent some time reviewing the first drafts of legislation that are relevant to student-athlete well being in the new legislative cycle. And, of course, we had yet another lively debate on commercialism!
Saturday night was a bittersweet evening for everyone on Division I SAAC. After dinner at Ram's Restaurant in downtown Indianapolis, the seven members leaving the committee after the July meeting had a chance to speak to the group about their time on the committee. There were memories shared, secrets revealed, tears, and a whole lot of laughter. And, at the request of Anne Morrison, we chose to close this emotional moment with the largest game of “zip-bomb” ever played.
We rolled out of bed Sunday morning for the last few hours of meetings. Andy Louthain came to speak to the committee in regard to academic reform. Following this, Matt Horn gave the group a presentation about an awesome community service opportunity with an organization called Samaritan's Feet. DI National SAAC will be participating in a shoe drive at our next meeting, which takes place in November, and a small group of us will be working on the possibility of coordinating a division-wide community service project for next year. Stay tuned! Once again, things became emotional when the seven members said their formal goodbyes, and a few new members expressed how excited they were to be a part of this special group. After an orientation for those elected to serve as cabinet and committee liaisons (a special thank you to Zack Solomon who will now be going to bat for us females), one by one, we departed for the airport and went our separate ways. There is much work to be done before our next meeting in November and even more before the NCAA Convention in January. As sad as it was to say goodbye to all of our fellow members who will no longer be part of the committee, it made me feel so lucky to have met these wonderful people and to have yet another year with this amazing group!