DENVER – The Western Athletic Conference held its Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) summer in-person meeting July 27-29 on the campus of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, Texas. WAC SAAC representatives from all nine league institutions discussed various national, Conference and institutional topics ranging from the student-athlete transfer issues and early recruitment to diversity and inclusion on their respective campuses.
The two-day meeting allowed SAAC representatives to focus on on-going national issues such as the Commission on College Basketball recommendations, issues related to written notification of transfer legislation and early recruiting concepts, and the impact those matters have on Division I student-athletes nationally and within the WAC. Noah Knight, former Kansas City men's basketball student-athlete and NCAA Division I National SAAC Chair, provided the group with a report from the recent Division I National SAAC in-person meeting. Knight recapped the D-I SAAC's discussions on transfer issues, sports gambling, seasons-of-competition models and student-athlete safety issues, among various other matters of importance.
Other items of discussion included how to become more informed on issues affecting student-athletes, becoming more involved in the WAC governance structure and with athletic administrators on their respective campuses, as well as how to handle the new opportunities and responsibilities that will result from increased student-athlete involvement. The group also discussed community service initiatives and educating their fellow student-athletes on the NCAA Student-Athlete Assistance/Opportunity Fund and the purpose it serves on campus, and creating awareness of what SAAC is and the mission and goals of the group on each campus.
The WAC SAAC also selected its executive committee for the 2018-19 academic year. They are:
2018-19 WAC SAAC Executive Committee
Division I National SAAC Chair: Noah Knight, Men's Basketball, University of Missouri-Kansas City
President: Jonny Holsten, Men's Cross Country/Track and Field, Grand Canyon University
Vice-President: Megan Klavitter, Women's Volleyball, Chicago State University
Secretary: Jaren Hopkins, Men's Swimming and Diving, California State University, Bakersfield
Social Media Coordinator: Elle Estes, Women's Soccer, California State University, Bakersfield
Social Media Coordinator: Savanna Reilly, Women's Track and Field, Utah Valley University
As is tradition at all in-person meetings, the representatives participated in a community service activity. In this case, the group went to The Boy & Girls Club of McAllen in McAllen, Texas. The group spent the afternoon assisting with the Club's National Fitness Challenge.
"The WAC SAAC meeting at UTRGV was an overall productive experience," Knight said. "The group gave invaluable input on hot topic NCAA items. I feel there was true passion towards what we would like to accomplish as a group this year and I look forward to advancing our objectives."
"This year's meeting was very educational and productive," Holsten said. "UTRGV was a gracious host, and we were able to have valuable discussions on a wide variety of important topics ranging from student athlete mental health to diversity and inclusion on our campuses. We were also able to come up with some great objectives and initiatives to present to our schools and I am looking forward to seeing what my fellow student athletes in the WAC can achieve institutionally and as a Conference group."
The WAC thanks the following student-athletes for their attendance at the summer 2018 in-person meeting:
Joey Scotti, Men's Soccer, California Baptist
Elle Estes, Women's Soccer, CSU Bakersfield
Jaren Hopkins, Men's Swimming and Diving, CSU Bakersfield
Jon Coss III, Baseball, Chicago State
Megan Klavitter, Women's Volleyball, Chicago State
Brianna Aguilar-Beaucage, Softball, Grand Canyon
Jonny Holsten, Men's Cross Country/Track and Field, Grand Canyon
Paige Husa, Women's Basketball, Kansas City
Noah Knight, Men's Basketball, Kansas City
Lindsay Harlas, Women's Tennis, NM State
Yemisi Oroyinyin, Women's Track and Field, NM State
Ivory Randle IV, Men's Soccer, Seattle U
Jenessa Schulte, Women's Swimming and Diving, Seattle U
Diandra Aliaga, Women's Soccer, UT Rio Grande Valley
Henry Fisher, Men's Golf, UT Rio Grande Valley
Taylor Allen, Men's Track and Field, Utah Valley
Savanna Reilly, Women's Track and Field, Utah Valley