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.