At the NCAA Convention, the National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) participated in a presentation about the importance of sports information directors.  Eric McDowell, the sports information director (SID) and assistant athletic director at Union College in Schenectady, New York addressed National SAAC representatives from all three divisions in San Antonio, Texas. 

Many questions arise with discussion about the media that encircles student-athletes. What is the best way to connect the success of student-athletes and their community? Not only are SID’s athletic departments’ statistic geniuses, and number one fans of their respective university, but they are also first on the scene at basketball and soccer games. They must be familiar with the most current communication technology (yes, that means the internet).

Twenty years ago, SIDs couldn’t predict they would be tweeting live plays via the Internet, or posting videos with commentary while the soccer game was actually happening. Nowadays, the SID is on the forefront of technology to present the latest scores and plays lightning-quick, so fans who are not at the game can stay in the know about their favorite college teams.

The SID is not only the media relations representative of the athletic department, but they can also be the student-athletes’ best friend. Whenever my grandparents check out our University of Portland sports media website they are always pleased to get to know my teammates on the posted roster. They also read the latest cross-country race recaps and scope out pictures of our coaches.  We as student athletes can help the SID keep our team information up-to-date by sending in pictures from competition, updating our biographies, or reminding our coaches to communicate results as soon as possible. Then community members (and grandparents) can stay connected with our latest athletic accomplishments.

Accordingly, the SID is a key element to any athletic department. Not only are the statistics from last night's game posted the moment they happen, but they are also presented in multiple formats using the most current technology. The National SAACs from all three divisions were pleasantly reminded that the SID can also be the right hand man in communicating the latest SAAC community service project, or current legislation that the SAAC is working on for fellow student-athletes. We are thankful to Eric McDowell for reminding us of the many roles the SID plays in our athletic departments and look forward to taking his message back to our own conferences and campuses.

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