PITTSBURGH, Pa.— The Atlantic 10 concluded its annual Joint Winter Meetings Monday, convening Athletic Directors, Senior Woman Administrators, Faculty Athletic Representatives and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) members from each of the fourteen member institutions.
The meetings were held in Pittsburgh, the host city of the 2017 Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship, and began Saturday with an impressive Tip-Off Reception in anticipation of the Championship, which will be played March 8-12, 2017. Business leaders, politicians, media representatives and A-10 fans, staff and coaches joined forces to raise funds that will benefit underserved youth in Pittsburgh through ticket sponsorships for selected sessions of the Championship.
The Atlantic 10 Joint Winter Meetings focused on issues and topics from last week’s NCAA Convention in Nashville, Tenn., including student-athlete welfare, time demands and legislative governance issues. In addition, the A-10 leadership discussed the conference’s strategic policies related to national positioning in men's and women's basketball, Olympic sport championship formats in the sports of baseball and soccer, and the upcoming A-10 Spring Festival scheduled for Orlando, Fla. The festival will be held in conjunction with the Atlantic 10 Men's and Women's Tennis Championships and the A-10 Golf Championship.
“Our meetings were great, and the energy generated by bringing together our A-10 administrative and faculty leadership with our student-athlete leaders is a winning combination," stated Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade. "I don't know who benefits more, the professional adults or the undergraduate student-athletes -- probably the A-10 as a whole!"
During the business portion of the meetings, the athletics directors endorsed the formation of a Student-Athlete Health and Welfare Committee, and received the agenda for the Atlantic 10 student-athlete Leadership Seminar, which will take place in Washington D.C., in April of 2017. The group also approved an extension for use of the expansive A-10 Postgraduate Scholarship Award Program, benefiting A-10 student-athletes pursuing post-graduate studies.
The four governance groups also participated in a Joint Roundtable Breakfast, holding an interactive discussion on four key areas related to intercollegiate athletics:
- It’s On Us – The national campaign to end sexual assault on college campuses and best practices in the Atlantic 10’s continued commitment to this program.
- Student AND Athlete Experience – Maintaining the A-10’s graduation success and academic prowess while striving to win championships.
- The Student-Athlete Voice – How student-athletes can effectively express their voice and effect change within college athletics and their campus communities.
- A-10 Affinity – How best to continue to build upon the strong brand of the Atlantic 10 and expand the ambassadors of the conference, including current and former student-athletes, fans and alumni.
"We spent two good days working on the conference's position nationally and our strategic direction,” said Ed McLaughlin, VCU Director of Athletics and Chair of the Atlantic 10 Athletic Directors. “Bringing SAAC representatives from each campus gives us the opportunity to collaborate about conference-wide efforts. Talking with the student-athletes guides us as we work on enhancing their experiences on our campuses, and gives them a voice about that experience."
Worth noting, Pittsburgh has a long history with the Atlantic 10, with six of the first seven A-10 Men’s Basketball Championships being played in "The City of Champions". Duquesne University, which is located in the city, won the first-ever A-10 title in 1977.