A student-athlete advisory committee (SAAC) is a committee made up of student-athletes assembled to provide insight on the student-athlete experience. The SAAC also offers input on the rules, regulations and polices that affect student-athletes' lives on NCAA member institution campuses.
Presently, there are separate national SAACs for NCAA Divisions I, II and III. NCAA legislation mandates that all member institutions have SAACs on their respective campuses. Further, NCAA legislation requires that all member conferences have SAACs.
The mission of the NCAA Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee(SAAC) is to enhance the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity for all student-athletes; protecting student-athlete welfare; and fostering a positive student-athlete image, while maintaining the tenants of the Division III philosophy.
Colleges and universities in Division III place highest priority on the overall quality of the educational experience and on the successful completion of all students' academic programs. They seek to establish and maintain an environment in which a student-athlete's athletics activities are conducted as an integral part of the student-athlete's educational experience, and in which coaches play a significant role as educators. They also seek to establish and maintain an environment that values cultural diversity and gender equity among their student-athletes and athletics staff. (Revised: 1/10/95, 1/9/06 effective 8/1/06)
To achieve this end, Division III institutions:
(a) Place special importance on the impact of athletics on the participants rather than on the spectators and place greater emphasis on the internal constituency (e.g., students, alumni, institutional personnel) than on the general public and its entertainment needs;
(b) Award no athletically related financial aid to any student;
(c) Encourage the development of sportsmanship and positive societal attitudes in all constituents, including student-athletes, coaches, administrative personnel and spectators;
(d) Encourage participation by maximizing the number and variety of athletics opportunities for their students;
(e) Assure that the actions of coaches and administrators exhibit fairness, openness and honesty in their relationships with student-athletes;
(f) Assure that athletics participants are not treated differently from other members of the student body;
(g) Assure that athletics programs support the institution's educational mission by financing, staffing and controlling the programs through the same general procedures as other departments of the institution. Further, the administration of an institution's athletics program (e.g., hiring, compensation, professional development, certification of coaches) should be integrated into the campus culture and educational mission; (Revised: 1/9/06 effective 8/1/06)
(h) Assure that athletics recruitment complies with established institutional policies and procedures applicable to the admission process; (Adopted: 1/12/04 effective 8/1/04)
(i) Assure that academic performance of student-athletes is, at a minimum, consistent with that of the general student body; (Adopted: 1/9/06 effective 8/1/06)
(j) Assure that admission policies for student-athletes comply with policies and procedures applicable to the general student body; (Adopted: 1/9/06 effective 8/1/06)
(k ) Provide equitable athletics opportunities for males and females and give equal emphasis to men's and women's sports;
(l) Support ethnic and gender diversity for all constituents; (Adopted: 1/12/99)
(m) Give primary emphasis to regional in-season competition and conference championships; and
(n) Support student-athletes in their efforts to reach high levels of athletics performance, which may include opportunities for participation in national championships, by providing all teams with adequate facilities, competent coaching and appropriate competitive opportunities.
The purpose of the NCAA is to assist its members in developing the basis for consistent, equitable competition while minimizing infringement on the freedom of individual institutions to determine their own special objectives and programs. The above statement articulates principles that represent a commitment to Division III membership and shall serve as a guide for the preparation of legislation by the division and for planning and implementation of programs by institutions and conferences.
"It's not about getting a scholarship, getting drafted, or making SportsCenter. It's a deep need in us that comes from the heart. We need to practice, to play, to lift, to hustle, to sweat. We do it all for our teammates and for the student in our calculus class that we don't even know.
We don't practice with a future major league first baseman; we practice with a future sports agent. We don't lift weights with a future Olympic wrestler; we lift with a future doctor. We don't run with a future Wimbledon champion; we run with a future CEO. It's a bigger part of us than our friends and family can understand. Sometimes we play for 2,000 fans; sometimes 25. But we still play hard. You cheer for us because you know us. You know more than just our names. Like all of you, we are students first. We don't sign autographs. But we do sign graduate school applications, MCAT exams, and student body petitions. When we miss a kick or strike out, we don't let down an entire state. We only let down our teammates, coaches, and fans.
But the hurt is still the same. We train hard, lift, throw, run, kick, tackle, shoot, dribble, and lift some more, and in the morning we go to class. And in that class we are nothing more than students. It's about pride in ourselves, in our school. It's about our love and passion for the game. And when it's over, when we walk off that court or field for the last time, our hearts crumble. Those tears are real. But deep down inside, we are very proud of ourselves. We will forever be what few can claim...college athletes."
- written by Sean Sornsin, who played baseball at Cornell College.
The article appeared in the Dec. 3, 1999 edition of The Cornellian (student newspaper)