Improving student-athlete experiences

The Student Athlete Advisory Committee provides support for the campus community and student-athletes alike

The mission statement of the California Lutheran University athletic department is “to provide a high caliber athletics program supporting both men’s and women’s sports that is designed to foster and compliment the overall academic and intellectual growth of Cal Lutheran student–athletes,” according to its website. One of the ways that they try and foster this growth is with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.

The SAAC is a committee that the NCAA requires participating universities have to help student-athletes with their college experience.

“The SAAC is set so student-athletes can have a voice in matters that concern their world,” said Debby Day, the adviser to the SAAC, head softball coach and director of compliance in the athletics department.

The SAAC is made up of 20 student-athletes with each one representing one of the varsity sports offered at Cal Lutheran. In recent history, committee members have chosen their successor rather than having their coach select their replacement.

“For about the past five years, we’ve had outgoing players select their successors rather than having a coach decide because I believe that the players have a better grasp on who would be right for the role,” Day said.

The committee meets throughout the semester to cover topics ranging from NCAA legislation to any little problem a student-athlete may encounter at Cal Lutheran.

“One of the responsibilities of the SAAC is to be the representative for the students not only for the university but also the NCAA,” said SAAC Vice President and junior punter on the Kingsmen football team Jack McFarland. “If a student-athlete is having any type of problem on campus whether it is academic or athletic, one of our goals is to be there to point them in the right direction.”

Another one of the goals of the SAAC, particularly at the Division III level is to be a good ambassador to the university community, extending this to the surrounding city not just the campus.

“We put on at least one program a semester that benefits the community whether it is Habitat for Humanity, food drives or collaborating with the Special Olympics,” McFarland said.

The aim is to build a strong relationship between the university and the surrounding area through different outreach programs.

The SAAC meets the third Tuesday of every month and the meetings are open to any student-athlete. For more information go to the SAAC webpage at www.clusports.com or contact Debby Day at [email protected]theran.edu.

 

Alix Moise

Staff Writer

Published December 10, 2014