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College players celebrate National Student-Athlete Day

NCAA student-athletes representing Indiana colleges and universities will participate in a community outreach initiative and celebrate their peers as part of National Student-Athlete Day Tuesday, March 31 at the NCAA national office in Indianapolis.

The student-athletes, along with national office staff, athletics administrators and local youth, will work with Thrive 360, a group that creates nutritious meal packages for malnourished children and their families in Indiana and developing countries.  Thrive 360’s overall goal is to help individuals move from starvation to self-sufficiency.  The meals will be picked up by Gleaners Food Bank after the community project and provided to families and individuals throughout Indiana.  There will also be a professional development activity focusing on social media training for the NCAA student-athletes in the afternoon.

Speakers for the day include Mark Emmert, NCAA president; Oliver Luck, NCAA executive vice-president for regulatory affairs, who will be the keynote prior to lunch; and Bernard Franklin, executive vice-president for education and community engagement/chief inclusion officer, who will provide closing comments.   Franklin oversees the NCAA leadership development group that coordinates the National Student-Athlete Day project at the national office.

“National Student-Athlete Day is an excellent way to put the spotlight on the great academic and athletic accomplishments of NCAA student-athletes and celebrate the way student-athletes are giving back to their community,” said Franklin.  “We enjoy bringing student-athletes to the national office and positively contributing to their overall student-athlete experience.”

Colleges and universities participating in the National Student-Athlete Day activities include the University of Indianapolis; Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis; Butler University; Anderson University; Earlham College; Franklin College; the University of Evansville; and Indiana University.  The student-athletes represent a wide range of academic majors and sports.

The youth participating in National Student-Athlete Day activities represent the Dream Keepers program, which is linked to the Indianapolis King Kennedy Center.  The King Kennedy Center focuses on peace and the civic engagement of youth using examples of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy’s commitment to public service, along with positive character and good sportsmanship ideals.  

National Student-Athlete Day is generally recognized on April 6 nationwide, but is celebrated the end of March throughout the month of April.  Student-athletes celebrate National Student-Athlete Day in a variety of ways on or around their college campuses each year, which can include hosting youth clinics, honoring their peers for their academic accomplishments, speaking engagements at elementary and high schools and other local outreach initiatives.