Story written by Curtis Schickner, a baseball player from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the America East Conference National SAAC Representative. 

The November meeting proved one thing to all of us:  the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is the voice of Division I student-athletes. Our role, mission and overall reach has grown tremendously since I joined the committee in July. The NCAA has noticed the importance of the student-athlete voice and included us in many discussions and collaborations. Our perspective as student-athletes is unique and the NCAA liaisons, conference administrators, and university leaders rely on us to provide tangible feedback on the issues that affect the student-athlete experience. From the recruiting process to the NCAA Championships, SAAC provides feedback and helps guide the NCAA towards positive changes and increased opportunities for student-athletes. During our November meeting, Dr. Mark Emmert, NCAA President, spent time with the Division I SAAC and sought feedback on the changing landscape of Division I, as well as the Presidential Working Groups that are currently transforming college athletics. There is no other group of student-athletes in the country that has a stronger voice than SAAC, and the scope of our influence seems to increase at every meeting.

In addition to serving as representatives of Division I student-athletes, DI SAAC also strives to serve the community.  During the November meeting, the committee volunteered with Samaritan's Feet. The service event humbled me in so many ways and inspired me to look into similar opportunities on my own campus. I am a firm believer that individuals must serve others before they become true leaders. I think all of us accepted this challenge and enjoyed giving back to that community and to the people who needed us most. Community service often covers a broad array of activities, but I feel that social engagement, with the people you are looking to help, gives the most positive influence to both parties. Samaritan's Feet offered this one-on-one, hands-on engagement with people in need and I strongly believe that both the community and National SAAC benefited from this event. My goal before graduation is to bring Samaritan's Feet to Baltimore and host an event with the students of University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The need for help can be found in every city, but is especially prevalent in the city of Baltimore. Our student-athletes, coaches, and administration would enjoy the opportunity and hopefully change the lives of some members in our local communities. 

Through leadership and service, Division I SAAC is making a difference. I strongly encourage every student-athlete to reach out to their team representatives and to get involved with SAAC. Whether it’s providing a unique perspective or raising an issue that affects student-athletes, your voice needs to be heard before change can occur. National SAAC will continue to support Division I student-athletes in every capacity, and we look forward to hearing any feedback or concerns that you, as student-athletes, have about your experience in Division I.  

For more information about SAAC visit
By Michelle Brutlag Hosick
In its first-ever electronic override vote, Division I members decided to retain legislation that prevents an institution from hosting, sponsoring or conducting a nonscholastic basketball practice or game in which  men’s basketball prospects participate on its campus or at an off-campus facility it uses regularly.

The proposal was intended to address a proliferation of nonscholastic men’s basketball events held on Division I campuses during quiet periods, especially in May and June.

To be successful, 62.5 percent of those voting needed to support the override. When polls closed, 58.59 percent of 355 schools voting were in favor of the override.

Those who don’t want those events (that is, supporters of the proposal) say they are being planned and operated to help institutions with recruiting but that college coaches are being leveraged to help event operators arrange for discounted operational costs under the threat that event operators will take the event (and all of the prospects) to another institution’s campus.

The Division I National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee opposed the override, agreeing that recruiting advantages were significant for schools that host such events.

The Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Issues Cabinet sponsored similar legislation for the 2011-12 cycle relating to women’s basketball at the request of the Women’s Basketball Issues Committee and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. The membership’s vote on the override of men’s basketball issue will be instructive to the Legislative Council in that regard.

Schools that submitted override requests cited the loss of revenue potential as their primary concern.

“The scope of this legislation is far too broad and its impact does more than just limit illegitimate groups from using an institution’s facility,” Rice assistant athletics director for compliance Michael Dean wrote in the electronic comment section. “Across the country, athletics departments and institutions are facing serious budget cuts. With this legislation, a critical piece of possible revenue is eliminated.”

Supporters of the override also pointed the proposal’s inclusion of off-campus facilities used regularly by the school’s men’s basketball team. That prohibition was an overreach and requires institutions to control outside facilities, they argue.

That proposal received 35 override requests, but the Legislative Council and Board of Directors both voted to maintain support of its earlier action.

Division I adopted legislation in April to allow override votes to be conducted electronically rather than in person at the NCAA Convention. The electronic process included a ten-day window for comments from supporters and those who oppose the legislation. Voting began December 12 and closed December 16.

Northwestern State senior linebacker Yaser Elqutub was introduced as the captain of the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, a 22-member squad chosen earlier this fall for remarkable community service and leadership.
Elqutub also sits on the National SAAC  as the Southland Conference representative. 

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