June 21, 2011
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The Atlantic 10 Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) held their annual meeting in Philadelphia, Pa., May 25-26, 2011. Over the two-day event, the SAAC took part in a Branded a Leader/Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Training program, attended the A-10 Baseball Championship at Campbell's Field in Camden, N.J., held a round table discussion with A-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade and Temple men's basketball coach Fran Dunphy and concluded the meeting discussing national issues that will be the Division I SAAC's area of focus during the 2011-12 academic year.
The Mentors in Violence Prevention program is a gender violence prevention and education program that motivates male and female student-athletes and student leaders to play a leadership role in reducing the level of all forms of violence against women, including rape, battery, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. The four main goals are to raise awareness, challenge thinking, open dialogue and inspire leadership. By using a unique bystander approach to prevention, MVP views young men and women not as potential perpetrators or victims of violence, but as empowered bystanders who can confront abusive peers and role model respectful behavior towards women and girls.
The topic of campus violence prevention, which has received national attention within the last 18 months and led to the NCAA sponsoring its first ever Violence Prevention Summit on April 8, 2011, was selected by the student-athletes themselves earlier in the year. The Branded a Leader component of the training session was incorporated to develop the participant's leadership skills, with the goal of enhancing the effectiveness of any eventual efforts to incorporate violence prevention programming on their respective campuses, and also to serve as more effective leaders and role models. In the end, the program touched on understanding personal brands; leadership; bystander approach; healthy vs. unhealthy relationships; alcohol & sexual consent; responsible computing; and implementation strategies.
The SAAC then attended the A-10 Baseball Championship Wednesday evening and was treated to dinner and some baseball action inside Campbell's Field - home of the Camden Riversharks. At the game, the group also had the chance to speak with Athletic Directors Don DiJulia of Saint Joseph's and Dr. Thomas Brennan of La Salle and Saint Joseph's Associate Athletic Director Jim Brown.
On Thursday, the SAAC spent time with A-10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade and Temple head coach Fran Dunphy. Commissioner McGlade entertained a question and answer session with the group discussion a variety of topics that ranged from the conference's goals and objectives, to the league's championship events. Coach Dunphy then spoke to the group about the importance of leadership and its many different forms, using examples and stories from his coaching career.
The SAAC concluded their meeting discussing NCAA Governance issues, national issues that the Division I SAAC will focus on during the 2011-12 academic year and potential concepts for an A-10 initiative.
Members of the 2010-11 A-10 SAAC in attendance at this year's annual meeting were Charlotte's Sheri Davis (volleyball); Dayton's Katherine Boone (women's soccer); Duquesne's Zach Richert (football); Fordham's Elizabeth Anderson (rowing); George Washington's Alex Dadds (cross country); La Salle's Blasé Szyszko (men's swimming & diving); Massachusetts' Shane Curran-Hays (men's soccer); Rhode Island's Tristany Leikem (women's tennis); Richmond's Caitlin Fifield (lacrosse); St. Bonaventure's Julian Cenzi (women's soccer); Saint Joseph's Lindsey King (women's soccer); Saint Louis' Kelsey Coleman (women's swimming & diving); Temple's Jenni Abercrumbie (women's cross country/track & field); Xavier's Andy Kaplan (men's soccer); A-10 SAAC Committee Chair Dr. Annette O'Connor, La Salle Faculty Athletic Representative; A-10 Director of Compliance Jill Redmond.
What Is SAAC? (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee)
SAAC is an organization that consists of student-athletes and exists at the national level (Division I, II and III), the conference and institutional level. NCAA legislation requires that member institutions and conference offices have SAAC organizations in order to:
* Provide insight on the student-athlete experience
* Offer input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes' lives on NCAA member institution campuses
Conference SAACs serve a number of roles, but the primary goal is to strengthen the communication between the campus and national SAAC committees. Through increased communication and networking, the SAACs hope to better represent the views of all student-athletes. Conference SAACs also support the efforts of campus SAACS through education and acting as a resource when needed.