Who is SAAC and what do they do?

Courtesy of Laura Dahlby Nicolai

Courtesy of Laura Dahlby Nicolai

Jacqueline Hixssen, Staff Reporter

Throughout each division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Student-Athlete Advisory Committees (SAAC) are prevalent. 

Unlike division one and three schools within the NCAA, division two SAAC programs have a say in the legislative body within the NCAA, according to CWU SAAC President Lauren Odette.

According to Odette, there are multiple SAAC programs within each division. Every school playing within the NCAA has a school SAAC and then each division has a SAAC as well. There are also National SAAC representatives that attend national meetings. 

“All the National SAAC DII [Division II] representatives come together and they meet and discuss stuff,” Odette said.

On a school level, each SAAC can differ per school; CWU’s SAAC is divided into subcategories, according to Odette.

“We have an executive team and each executive is kind of in charge of a different thing,” Odette said. “We have our outreach person, or social media person, and we have our student-athlete engagement person.”

The committees are new to CWU’s SAAC and many groups are fluctuating. At the moment, the executive team meets once a week to update each other on new things going on within their committees.

One committee within SAAC is the fundraising committee. SAAC is not funded by the university, so putting together fundraising events is important for SAAC’s success, according to Odette.

“We try not to make it too much and we don’t want it to be a burden. We want it to be something that is fun for them [student-athletes] and gives them a voice,” Odette said.

The main goal for CWU’s SAAC is to provide a welcoming environment to the student-athletes, according to Odette.

“Our really big mission is getting student athletes connected with each other. We really want to have kind of a community with our student-athletes,” Odette said.

SAAC accomplishes these goals by hosting events specifically for the student-athletes.

“We have our big dance competition we do in the fall and our welcome back barbeque where all the teams come together and we play some games and eat some food …  We try to do things where the athletes get together and do things outside of practice.”

Student-athletes also utilize SAAC to stay up-to-date on information within the athletic programs and utilize SAAC meetings to spread the word on special events or games going on. 

Every SAAC runs differently, while picking members and executives, CWU’s SAAC finds it important to have two athletes from each sport represent their teams.

“This is important for legislative grids, we get two votes for every team,” Odette said. 

Typically, coaches choose players who they think will be good representatives of not only their sport, but of CWU as well. 

“SAAC is a really unique opportunity for student athletes because not every school or division gets to have the power that we do. I just think it is a very special opportunity for us to be able to speak up on what we want,” Odette said.

The future of SAAC is hopeful, according to Odette. The executives are planning for next year already, ensuring committees and communication lines are set up for next year and getting everything else ready prior to coming back in fall.