Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) senior leaders’ Linzy Granger and Evan Beebe attended a Lone Star conference in Dallas, Texas. They were informed on the hot topics that are highly popular in the media and how to address them. Both Granger and Beebe represented WNMU athletics by voting for NCAA rules and bylaws. After the conference they came back to share this information to our WNMU athletics department. Student Research and Professional Development (SRPD) funds happily assisted Granger and Beebe to develop professional skills that can support their future endeavors.
[In November 2016,] I went to a Lone Star conference meeting with several schools Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) leaders. The conference was in Dallas where we spoke about several issues that every school’s SAAC deals with. We also discussed issues outside of our schools SAAC and how other schools deal with SAAC issues on their campus.
A main topic we went over was how each school raised money for the make-a-wish foundation. Other schools gave suggestions such as standing with buckets at football games, auctioning off worn in games sports gear to fans, and playing games where they involve the professors so they can see their professors do embarrassing things. We also discussed another foundation that the Lone Star participates in which impacts the team, where the foundation picks a team to “adopt” a child with a terminal illness and make him a part of the team for the year.
I really liked that this idea was presented to us, because it sounds like it could be very helpful to a child that needs all the support he or she can get. I immediately thought I would like to present this idea to my coach and get our team involved. Another topic that we covered at the conference was ways in which you can hold SAAC voting meetings for NCAA rules and bylaws. Every school seemed to have a different way of holding their voting meetings. Some schools had meetings where a NCAA bylaw PowerPoint was presented to athletes at a meeting and they voted based off of what they read; other schools had one person read the bylaw and translate it to the group. We also talked about the Lone Star Conference’s degree completion award which is scholarship program designed to help out Lone Star athletes who have exhausted all of their eligibility in their sport and still need one or two semesters to complete their degree. Another way that the Lone Star Conference helps our former athletes is by providing a conference office internship mostly for former or current athletes looking to find a career in sports administration.
After we discussed these topics about the Lone Star we were able to listen to a guest speaker. The guest speaker was a sports psychiatrist from TCU who studied and played college football at Notre Dame. Since he was a former college athlete, he could relate to the mental struggles that college athletes endure and recognize the importance of a sports psychiatrist within the athletics department. He spoke with us about what struggles student athletes go through and how it happens to everyone; no matter how good of an athlete you are. He stressed recognizing signs of depression early to keep our fellow athletes from acting on negative thoughts. The guest speaker really encouraged me to be on the lookout for signs in my friends and fellow student athletes. He wants us to encourage them to seek help to them get through their problems. After his presentation, we shared and discussed how we voted on the new NCAA rules and bylaws that were proposed. First, there was only student-athletes present, sharing our perspective, and explained why we felt the proposal should be passed or shut down. After we discussed these proposals as student-athletes, our faculty athletic representatives came into the room and we discussed the proposals with them. Incorporating a faculty member from the school thoughts helped us view things from a different perspective.
I really enjoyed that I was able to go to this conference because I was able to meet other student athletes and build connections. Interacting with other leaders in a professional setting like this was great for my future. I could potentially be asked to share my opinion about a procedure or rule in the company that I end up working for. Without the funds from the Student Research and Professional Development (SRPD) Funds, I would not have been able to attend this conference and gain this great professional experience. I believe that SRPD should continue to grow and be publicly recognized by more students. Students may experience important conferences and meetings across the country to enhance their professional development.
Article written by: Linzy Granger
Intro by: Nykilah Torres Lucero