SAAC Gives Student-Athletes a Voice -

SAAC Gives Student-Athletes a Voice

Want to sit down with some of Mizzou’s top athletes all in one room? It may be easier than you think. All you need to do is attend a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) meeting.

On a regular basis athletes from MU teams come together to discuss the current state of the Mizzou athletic department and issues concerning its student-athletes. SAAC’s mission statement is lofty, to “serve as medium of communication between Student-Athletes and Athletic Department Administrators as well as provide a means to improve interaction between administrators, the community, and each other.” But Kim Martin, an academic coordinator of the Mizzou Total Person Program, thinks SAAC can be described in a simpler way.

“I kind of relate it to a student council,” Martin said. “They are the voice of all our student-athletes and they really work on behalf of them.”

The structure of SAAC is simple. Each MU team elects two representatives. These representatives attend monthly meetings to help organize events, generate ideas and contribute to discussions concerning issues affecting their program. Seven athletes also make up an executive board for SAAC and manage budgets and programming.

Jordan Hawley, a member of the men’s swimming team, currently serves as president of SAAC.

“With so much diversity and input we are able to really pass on the heartbeat of the student-athletes to the athletic administrators,” Hawley said. “I was very excited to be a part of this opportunity because you are on the front lines of many student-athlete policies and programs that enhance the student-athlete experience here at Mizzou.”

As a Tiger fan, you may not really get a chance to be a part of the meetings and decisions SAAC makes. But, the programming SAAC implements is visible if you know what to look for.

“If you are a fan you have probably seen more and more student-athletes supporting each other. That is a direct correlation between the Tiger Cup program and SAAC,” Martin said.

The Tiger Cup program is a competition that challenges Missouri's athletic squads to see who can participate in the most community service, education and support activities. Each team is pitted against each other for the entire school year and then the winner is recognized at the end of the year. Cheering at other squad’s events earns teams points.

SAAC is also working to promote athletes to get out more in the Columbia area to do service projects and participate in community programs. SAAC members act as leaders to encourage this. Each delegate must complete three hours of community service.

“Although there is a 3 hour minimum, many of our SAAC members are incredibly more involved than that,” Hawley said. “The people that are a part of SAAC are leaders on their team, in the classroom and in the community.”

Martin was a member of SAAC when she was a student-athlete at Missouri. She has been able to see the organization make huge strides in the past five years. The students take their work seriously, their teammates respect them and the administration effectively uses the members to facilitate communication.

“They are really getting something done,” Martin said.

The strong voice SAAC gives to Missouri student-athletes is something that helps make their teams stronger and their athletic experience better.

“I see members of our SAAC group leading on the national stage, promoting changes and better programs for student athletes at the NCAA level,” Hawley said. “We have an incredible group of people here and I am so excited about what the future holds.”

Below is a list of the 2009-2010 SAAC representatives and, just a suggestion, maybe the next time you cheer them on at a game, cheer a little louder and show your support for their efforts on and off the field.

2009-10 SAAC Representatives
    Women’s Cross Country: Angela Potrykus, Ellen Ries, Katie Vanarsdall
    Men’s Cross Country: Aaron Dixon, Tim Opfer
    Baseball: Garrison McLagan, Andre Rodriguez, Rex Meyr, Andreas Plackis (At-Large Member)
    Men’s Basketball: JT Tiller, Zaire Taylor
    Women’s Basketball: Amanda Hanneman, Bekha Mills
    Football: Kurtis Gregory (Treasurer), Sean Weatherspoon, Jimmy Costello (At-Large Member)
    Gymnastics: Sarah Shire, Allison Heizelman (Co-Vice President-Community Service)
    Women’s Golf: Madison Marcolla (Co-Vice President-Social), Marissa Cook, Michelle Morgan
    Men’s Golf: William Harrold, Jace Long, Brad Moody
    Soccer: Michelle Collins (Secretary), Kelsey Stokes (Co-Vice President-Social)
    Softball: Marla Schweisberger, Chelsea Thomas
    Men’s Swimming & Diving: Max Kerwick, Jordan Hawley (President)
    Women’s Swimming & Diving: Stephanie Rovig, Colleen Gordon
    Tennis: Mallory Weber, Kaitlyn Ritchie, Jamie Mera (Co-Vice President-Community Service)
    Men’s Track & Field: Nick Adcock, Jerron Forte
    Women’s Track & Field: Lana Mims, Leslie Farmer
    Wrestling: Nathan McCormick, Brent Haynes, Nick Hucke
    Volleyball: Julianna Klein, Anne Lopez, Lei Wang

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