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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

SAAC Kicks Off New Season


The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), whose main purpose is to act as a liaison between the student-athletes, the College, and national governing bodies such as the NCAA, plans to focus on service this year. SAAC has plans beyond working on athletic legislation for the Midwest Conference and the NCAA, and wants to place a greater emphasis on community service, as they plan to grow from their service experience in previous years.

Mikyla Murphy ’19 serves as a SAAC co-leader alongside Ethan Huelskamp ’20. The two represent Grinnell’s SAAC at Midwest Conference SAAC meetings. SAAC is an NCAA-wide program, which the NCAA website claims allows students to “provide insight on the student-athlete experience and offer input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes’ lives on campus.” In essence, Murphy and Huelskamp serve Grinnell student-athletes’ concerns to rule makers at both the conference and national level.

“Legislation can be proposed from within SAAC, but it’s also the same legislation that the administrators of all the schools vote on,” Murphy said. “So, we’ll vote on all the Division III legislation.” Some examples of recent legislation include proposals to change basketball practice start times and legislation regarding what teams can and cannot do leading up to their official start dates.

Although SAAC is designed to function as a legislative leg for the NCAA, Grinnell’s SAAC is hoping to focus more on both service and community relations this year. “We’ll be working on not only going out into the community but bringing the community to Grinnell as well,” Murphy said.

Service remains one of SAAC’s biggest priorities this year. Huelskamp is interested in addressing SAAC’s concerns about the service done in the past and crafting proposals to make it more effective to the conference.

“At one point they initiated a conference-wide food drive,” he said. “We met with CLS and did a walking tour of Grinnell and talked about some of the issues of one-off services projects like that. So we’re going to hopefully get the rest of the conference to kind of realize that there are maybe better ways that we can go about [community service] that are more beneficial to the community.”

While they didn’t have specific plans yet, Huelskamp and Murphy expressed a desire to do an ongoing project that fosters better relationships between SAAC and the Grinnell community. Murphy said she would like to see “more of an ongoing, collaborative relationship, as opposed to ‘Oh, we’re just going to provide you this one time.’”

While the SAAC leaders have plans to execute for the entire school year, they got their start on Wednesday night at “SAAC Night,” an annual meeting of Grinnell’s entire student-athlete population in the Bear at the beginning of the school year. At the meeting, they introduce first-year student-athletes to the athletic department and other student-athlete groups such as Queer Athletes and Allies (QAA), International Athletes and Allies (IAA) and Student-Athlete Mentors (SAMs).

With Murphy and Huelskamp leading the charge, SAAC hopes to foster yet another year of positive athletic experiences for Grinnell students and townspeople alike.

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