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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Meghan Lyons, UNC Chapel Hill SAAC President, takes some time to share all the great work the UNC 
student-athletes have been up to this past semester.

As the fall athletic seasons come to an end, UNC student-athletes took time to reflect on all the events, games, 5Ks, school readings, field days, academics—and much more that student-athletes took part in this past fall. What a season it was! Not only did we have a fabulous athletic season, and especially this year, the overwhelming commitment to the university community has reached another level. 

During October, many UNC teams, administrators, and community members took a strong part in transforming Chapel Hill into a pink zone—representing our commitment to helping spread the word about National Breast Cancer Awareness month. In addition to hosting a “wear pink” day for all student-athletes and administrators, the football, field hockey, gymnastics, and women’s soccer teams hosted “Turn it Pink” games to support this effort. Both football and field hockey worked in conjunction with our own campus organization, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer to put on this event.

Carolina Dreams, a student-athlete group serving the North Carolina Children’s Hospital, has hosted various events already this fall, and expanded to host additional programs. The group has hosted two football games and a volleyball game in which they invite children from the UNC Hospitals and their families to spend time with student-athletes and enjoy a light dinner, before attending a UNC Athletic Event. Most recently, the group has developed a “Heel Date” program in which a children from the hospital who is well enough to experience a fun day out, will be selected to spend a day with a chosen Carolina student athlete. It has been a great success, and we have already hosted the first Heel Date with Men’s Basketball player Tyler Zeller.

The Men’s Tennis team ran last weekend in the 4th Annual Eve Carson Memorial 5K for Education. This race, held annually, is especially unique to the Tar Heel experience and tradition. Three years ago, this race was founded in honor of former Student Body President, Eve Marie Carson. She was widely known for her commitment to outstanding leadership and community service, as well as a passion for the university and its students. Her loss was deeply felt on March 5, 2008, but this race and various other Eve Carson campus events live on the memory of Eve and all she accomplished and was known for while at UNC.

Through the Carolina Leadership Academy, UNC student-athletes are given the opportunity to listen to several outstanding and motivational speakers throughout the year as “Life Skills Presentations”—this year was no exception. In October, we listened to Joe Erhmann, “Coach for America” speak to us about “Sports and Gender.” No one knew what to expect, walking into a talk with this title. Joe was outstanding and incredibly moving. We hope to have him back at UNC in the future! As a result of this compelling Life Skills presentation, UNC student-athletes have chosen to take part in the nation-wide “It Gets Better” video project.

Heading into the holiday season, many teams have already signed up to take part in a “Share Your Holiday Project,” with each team adopting a family in need and providing each family with holiday presents from the team, in addition to cards and other gifts from the teams. This is one of the projects student-athletes look forward to every year, and we have a record number of teams participating this year, including: volleyball, field hockey, lacrosse, tennis, golf, baseball, swimming and diving, and rowing. 

ELON, N.C. -- Elon Athletics and the Elon Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is partnering with Allied Churches of Alamance County to collect new and gently used coats for both children and adults.

"It is important for SAAC to help because one of our purposes is to do service in our community," said SAAC co-president and football player Dale Riley.  "We like to present a positive image in the community not only as athletes in our respective sports, but in everything we do.  There is a need in our community and we want to help fill that need.  It is paramount to us that we leave Elon better than it was when we got here.  Elon has given us so much and continues to provide us with great memories, a great education and the opportunity to play in front of great fans.  This is a chance for us to give back and show our gratitude to the community."

Riley was inspired to push for this drive after a visit as a part of numerous Phoenix teams to Allied Churches opened his eyes to the need in the community for warm coats.  Riley saw numerous children without coats and learned about the many people in the community who have to sleep outside.  After seeing this, he thought that SAAC and the athletic department could tackle assisting the organization.

Coats will be collected at all home men's and women's basketball games through Dec. 14.  Coats will also be collected at this Saturday's Elon football game against Appalachian State.  Donation bins will also be stationed in both Alumni Field House and the Koury Athletic Center.  On game days, SAAC representatives will be on hand to accept coats as well as cash donations which will be used to purchase hats and gloves.

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Event attendance included National SAAC representatives Cassandra Lloyd (Horizon League), Alex Mendez (Big East Conference), and Logan Roberts (Big 12 Conference)

By Casey Richards

After hours of measuring, cutting and tying, hundreds of fleece blankets made by teams of student-athletes and area children piled up on three different tables.

 “These will keep somebody warm tonight,” said a local Salvation Army representative to cheers from the group.

The service activity was just one portion of the 2011 NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum, an event featuring 333 student-athletes and administrators building their leadership skills.

Participants took part in activities Nov. 3-6 in Chicago that included breakout sessions on individual behaviors and values, discussions with national SAAC and NCAA representatives, and life-skills presentations.

The goal of the forum, according to NCAA Vice President of Student-Athlete Affairs Robert Vowels, is for participants to leave “empowered” and to “gain some momentum on campus.” 

Participating student-athletes were ready to carry out that charge.

“I’m going to bring some of these lessons back to my SAAC at school, but then also continue to help my team develop,” said Kate Gallagher, a sophomore golfer at Missouri.  “This conference is definitely going to help me help other people.”

The team sessions focused primarily on building leadership by identifying personal values and behavior.

“Being aware of yourself enables you to better lead those around you,” said Grand Valley State sophomore runner Leiah Hess. “If you’re not aware of yourself, then that makes it a little more difficult for people to follow you.”

Initiative activities like the Student-Athlete Olympics, which featured dance-offs, rock/paper/scissor contests and the limbo added to a weekend that Vowels called an opportunity to “enhance the student-athlete experience.” This manifests itself through participants leaving with not only valuable lessons, but lasting relationships formed through the various activities. 

“It’s been great,” said sophomore Southern Arkansas baseball player Jordan Hill on the forum’s second day.  “I’ve already met a handful of people I think I’ve already become really close with who I’ll probably keep in contact with.”

Athletics Professionals Benefit Also

While the forum focuses on student-athletes, athletics professionals were also present.  The forum allowed them to network and share ideas to build intercollegiate athletics as a whole.

“The biggest impact for me has been the networking,” said Lori Kerans, Millikin’s head women’s basketball coach, senior woman administrator and SAAC advisor. “What the NCAA allows us to do through this process is hear the best practices and the best ideas at other campuses.”

The name of the forum isn’t lost on the professionals, however, as they know how crucial it is for student-athletes to develop these skills both on and off the field.

“I think it’s absolutely vital,” said Minnesota State-Moorhead Athletics Director Doug Peters. “Everything rises and falls on leadership, and if we’re going to have success, our student-athletes need to have an understanding of leadership and the roles that they play.”

SAAC Interacts With Participants

Student-athletes and athletics professionals participating in the forum had a chance to interact with their divisional national SAAC representatives.

Members of each division’s national SAAC held hour-long discussions during which they got the student-athletes perspective on a variety of topics.

Division I held discussions on Proposal No. 2010-30, which would allow unlimited text messaging between prospective student-athletes and coaches.

Division II broke into round-table discussions focusing on Make-A-Wish ideas, various other community service opportunities, and web presence.

A variety of hot-button topics were discussed at the Division III level, including text messaging and a hardship waiver proposal that would prohibit student-athletes from being at practice while rehabbing from injuries.

The student-athletes in attendance appreciated the chance to share their opinions on a variety of topics and learn about how SAAC operates at the national level.

“We didn’t really understand why they would make these rules,” said Jerry Wang, a sophomore tennis player at Lake Forest. “Having a bunch of students and coaches put their opinions out there and listening to them talk, it helped me understand why we’re voting on (various legislative proposals).”

All three national SAACs will convene in Indianapolis Nov. 18-20.
By Michelle Brutlag Hosick

When Scott Krapf read that a group of student-athletes had signed a petition advocating for initiatives aimed at improving student-athlete well-being, he was puzzled.

Krapf, the chair of the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, said his gut reaction to the petition from the National College Players Association was why the SAAC was left out of the loop. That’s not necessarily because he agreed with what the petition seeks to accomplish but because the SAAC is the most credible student-athlete group in the NCAA governance structure to effect change.

The student-athletes who signed the petition want a portion of NCAA television revenues to more clearly benefit student-athletes. The petition, received at the national office from student-athletes at UCLA, Purdue and Georgia Tech, requests the money be used for “education, integrity and basic protections” like preventing permanently injured players from losing their scholarships and paying for sports-related medical expenses.

Krapf noted that some of the items the group requested, such as multi-year scholarships and raising limits to allow for funding beyond the amount of a full scholarship, were approved by the Division I Board of Directors last month.

But beyond that, Krapf believes that a petition is not the best method for student-athletes to influence change. Instead, he believes the SAAC, which has representatives at every Division I cabinet and council, should be the group interacting with Division I decision-makers.

“The NCAA has a mechanism by which the student-athletes can have a direct line of communication to those who are making these important decisions,” Krapf said. “Those decision-makers definitely seek our feedback; they want to hear from us.”

Krapf said the SAAC has not discussed the substance of the petition but that the group will do so later this month as part of its review of the presidential working groups appointed after the August presidential retreat. He hopes the student-athletes signing the petition – which include several in nonrevenue sports – will consider working through SAAC to make their voices heard in the future. 

In the past year, the national SAAC representatives (one from every Division I conference) have made considerable effort to get feedback from their individual conferences, especially in the high-profile sports of football and men’s and women’s basketball. Issues such as examining academic issues in those sports prompted SAAC members to solicit opinions from their colleagues. However, it wasn’t always easy to get feedback from those in high-profile sports.

“Perhaps that message hasn’t been communicated well enough to the general student-athlete population, so that they know we have the ability to influence these decisions,” Krapf said.

Kelvin Beachum, a football student-athlete from SMU, is a member of both the NCPA and the national SAAC. He is a proponent for student-athletes making their voices heard through any means necessary, and he believes the NCPA message of improved student-athlete well-being is a good one. But he also agrees with Krapf: He thinks the SAAC could lend a more credible voice.

“If you’re so passionate about these issues, why not get involved in the SAAC? I’m on board with what they (the NCPA members) are doing, but the way they went about it could have been different,” Beachum said. “The SAAC is geared toward talking directly to NCAA officials about the issues.”

Krapf said he looks forward to representing the voice of all student-athletes – not just the ones with the desire to serve on SAAC.

“I recognize that there are student-athletes who want to be heard,” he said. “I hope they can see what our committee can do for them.”
Scott Krapf Chair of the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee
Kelvin Beachum Conference USA Representative
Katie Carew, Siena College Swimmer, shares her experience at the MAAC SAAC fall meeting. 

The MAAC SAAC began its annual fall meeting today at Walt Disney World with a 6:30 am departure for the Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee, Fl.  As part of its community service initiatives the MAAC SAAC served as breakfast volunteers at the complex that host children with life-threatening illnesses and their families at the 70-acre complex.  The ‘storybook’ resort has welcomed over 100,000 families since 1986 from all over the world.

The MAAC SAAC member’s day continues at 11 am at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World where they will assist the MAAC staff in the operation of the 2011 Men’s Soccer Championship at the venue.  The championship will be broadcast on ESPN3.

Later a 5 pm NCAA issues and legislative session is scheduled for MAAC SAAC at the Norway Pavilion at EPCOT.  Dinner will be served and then a 90-minute presentation by the renowned Disney Institute Program on the subject of ‘Creativity”.  The day is capped by the famous EPCOT fireworks show at EPCOT.

MAAC Commissioner Richard Ensor notes that the MAAC SAAC “Represents the leadership of all 10 MAAC member institutions student-athlete campus SAAC.  The lessons of community service and leadership they learn this weekend are important for themselves and their fellow athletes.”

The SAAC Fun Run is part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month on campus.

Student-athletes from the lacrosse, track & field, fencing, women’s tennis and men’s soccer teams all came out in support of the Breast Cancer Awareness SAAC Fun Run on Thursday, Oct. 6.

“The Breast Cancer SAAC Fun Run is an event St. John’s student-athletes look forward to participating in each year,” said Shalena Brown, Director of Leadership Development for the Office of Student Development for Athletes. “The Fun Run is a small, but important part our athletes can play in bringing awareness to students and faculty on campus. We had perfect weather making it a fantastic day to get out and show our support for the American Cancer Society.”

The SAAC Fun Run is a part of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month on campus. As part of Thursday’s activities, The Office of Community Relations and the American Cancer Society provided large pink bows that the student-athletes placed around campus to raise awareness for the cause. The participants also handed out materials concerning the Breast Cancer walk on Sunday, Oct. 16, at Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

October has been recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month since 1984. According to the American Cancer Society approximately 192,370 cases of breast cancer will diagnosed among women in the United States this year. Pink ribbons, such as the ones placed by the student-athletes around campus, are the official symbol of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and have become synonymous with the fight against breast cancer.

My name is Jacqui Kalin and I am the SAAC Co-President at the University of Northern Iowa. This past July I traveled to St. Louis for a Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) SAAC meeting and met SAAC members from each Valley school. It was so much fun to get to spend time with student athletes from other schools and to create one voice on many issues.

Every summer when we get together for the meeting we take time out of one of the days to do a community service project with the Special Olympics. This summer we attended the Special Olympics District Softball Games. We went there with the understanding that we would serve as “cheerleaders,” interact with the Special Olympics athletes as much as we could, and help run the event. When we arrived we found out that one of the teams could not come anymore, so we formed our very own MVC team to fill in for them. I have to admit, these Special Olympics athletes were not messing around! They were very good and discovered a lot of our weaknesses (we found out we all better stick to our own sports). Even though they kicked our butts, both teams had a great time and we were glad to have the opportunity to fill in for one of the missing teams.

While community service only takes a small portion of the day, it can make such a big difference. The athletes at the Special Olympics were appreciative that we were there and we loved their company. As student-athletes, we are role models and it’s important we don’t forget the impact we can have on others through community service. I encourage you to get involved in your community, and the Special Olympics are a great place to start.

Good luck to all of you throughout this year both in school and in your sport!
Jacqui Kalin
University of Northern Iowa
Women’s Basketball

Q&A with former Grambling softball player Taylour Smith

July 21, 2011

Taylour Smith, former Grambling State softball player, recently discussed her Nike internship with

Q: Talk a little bit about your internship at Nike. How did you get the internship and how has your experience been so far?

I was able to get this internship through SAAC which is Student Athlete Advisory Committee. The deadline was approaching but I managed to get my resume and cover letter turned in to Edgar Gantt who works with the SWAC. From there he sent it over to a recruiter at Nike and I was fortunate enough to be chosen for an interview. So far this has been one of the best experiences ever! Nike has such a beautiful campus and I have been lucky enough to be paired with a very cool manager who is really helping me learn the business. I am placed in the North American Retail Brand Presentation department and my position is North American EKIN. EKIN is Nike backwards and as this position you are expected to learn Nikes products backwards and forwards. So far I have been helping my manager with planning events that are coming up such as the US Open of Surf which takes place Aug. 1st in Huntington Beach, CA. I will be attending and helping to relay brand experience to the consumers.

Q: What was your major at Grambling, and how have you benefitted from an education at GSU?

At Grambling I was a business marketing major. Education is very important to me, however I do feel that it is just the foundation of things that you need to learn. As a softball student athlete from Grambling I really have managed to take life skills that have really helped me in fitting in with the Nike expectations. Things like time management, presentation skills, and being a team player are just to name a few. Those skills go a long way and have helped me adjust to this new environment. So I would have to say that education and experiences with my sport have helped tremendously.

Q: What are your future plans?

I would definitely love to continue to work for Nike! It is seriously like my dream job! The most difficult thing though is deciding what exactly I would want to do here because there's no point of me saying I want to work here if I can't contribute. But if I don't get offered a position immediately after my internship I plan on moving out to California while still continuing to network with my manager and people that I've talked to on Nike's campus to see if any positions open up for me. They also have a campus in LA so maybe that could be an option as well. I've learned here that building relationships are extremely important because you never know who can help you in the long run

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Hanneman hired as assistant at Division II Sonoma State

By Bill Althaus - bill.althaus@examiner.netThe Examiner

Blue Springs, MO — Amanda Hanneman, a Blue Springs South High School and University of Missouri grad, is the new assistant basketball coach at Sonoma State University.

Hanneman spent the last year serving as a volunteer coach at Avila University in Kansas City while networking and getting the word out that she was looking for a coaching position.

“I feel very fortunate to have Amanda join our program,” Sonoma State coach Mark Rigby said. “All of the folks back in Missouri at Avila University and at the University of Missouri could not say enough good things about Amanda’s character, basketball knowledge and work ethic.

“Having played successfully in the Big 12 will be a tremendous resource for our student-athletes. I’m really looking forward to working with Amanda.”

And Hanneman can’t wait to work with Rigby at the college in Rohnert Park, Calif. She leaves her home in Blue Springs for California Wednesday.

“It’s all so crazy how this happened,” Hanneman said Thursday morning. “I have a friend at the University of San Francisco, and she told me about a job opening at Sonoma State, which is about 35 minutes north of San Francisco.

“I contacted them and flew out for an interview. About a week later, I did a phone interview and the day after that, Coach Rigby called me back and offered me the job.

“I’m so excited. I thought it might take two or three years to get a coaching job. I really enjoyed volunteering at Avila and watching South and some of the other area high school teams, but now I’m getting to realize a dream.

“I’m going to be a college basketball coach!”

Hanneman will be Rigby’s lone assistant.

“In Division II, they only have one assistant, so I’m going to be doing a little bit of everything,” she said. “I get out there, take the NCAA recruiting test and we hit the road the 24th of July.

“Recruiting is something I love, and I think it’s going to be one of my strengths. There’s nothing I love more than calling Coach (Mark) Bubalo at South or the coaches at Avila and talking to them, and that’s the type of relationship I want to have with my players down the road.

“It might take 10 or 20 years, but that’s what I want to achieve with my players.”

In her volunteer role, Hanneman helped the Avila women’s basketball team make its first NAIA Division I National Tournament appearance last season after the Eagles won the Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament. The team ended the season at 20-13.

Hanneman’s experience at Avila and her NCAA Division I background at Missouri was a big plus in the interview process.

She was a four-year letter winner (2006-10) and two-year starter for the Tigers. Hanneman ranks sixth in school history for most career three-point field goals (113), most three-point field goals in a single-season (58 in 2009-10) and best three-point field goal percentage in a single-season (.414 in 2009-10). She also served as a member of Missouri’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

She graduated from Mizzou with a bachelor’s of science degree in agriculture, food and natural resources. She was named to the dean’s list for her excellence in the classroom.

A two-sport star at Blue Springs South, Hanneman was an all-state performer as a senior and was a Suburban Big-Seven all-conference and Examiner All-Area selections as a sophomore, junior and senior. She was the Jaguars’ scoring leader in each of her final three seasons and eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau, finishing with 1,290 career points, the third-best mark in school history.

Hanneman also was an all-state golfer who led the Jaguars to four consecutive conference championships and state appearances. She was a part of two state championship golf teams and was The Examiner’s Golfer of the Year in 2003.

Hanneman replaces assistant Annie Roeser, who was part of the Sonoma State staff the past three years.

“My mom, my sister and I flew out to Rohnert Park last week, and I found a one-bedroom apartment about 10 minutes from the campus,” Hanneman said. “It’s about a 15-minute bike ride, so it’s perfect.

“This all happened so fast, I still can’t believe it.

This article can be fou