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Division I SAAC to take next step in addressing time demands

The committee is preparing a survey that will be sent to college athletes this fall

Ensuring that college athletes’ time can be balanced appropriately between athletics, academics and other pursuits has become a top priority for the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

The committee met in Indianapolis Oct. 3-4 to discuss the issue after the Board of Directors and Division I Council asked for formal recommendations to help reduce the demands that sports can place on college athletes.

Easing time demands is the most important task SAAC has undertaken under the new governance structure, committee members said. The committee hopes to formulate proposals that would ensure college athletes have more time to devote to internships and professional development without compromising the competitive nature of Division I sports.  SAAC leadership is eager to work more closely with the Council to address the complexities of that issue.  

“We’ve been given a voice and now is the time to use our voice, work with the Council and continue to build that relationship,” said Brady Bramlett, co-vice-chair of Division I SAAC and member of the University of Mississippi baseball team. “The Council has been very receptive and is now looking at us to provide answers on time demands, and we are working diligently to provide them recommendations on behalf of all DI student-athletes.”

To achieve that goal, SAAC will send a survey to DI student-athletes this fall, which will ask them to offer their perspective on the following concepts:

  • Receiving one day off per week from athletic activity and prohibiting travel on their off day.
  • Shifting the countable athletic-related activities log from a 20-hour weekly limit to a daily hourly limit; asking for recommendations regarding what the daily hourly limit should be and if it should be sport-specific.
  • Requiring a mandatory dead period one week after a college athlete’s championship season is complete and seeking recommendations for how long that period should last.
  • Reducing midweek nonconference games during the conference season.
  • Prohibiting college athletes from missing class for reasons related to their sport during the nontraditional season.
  • Educating prospective student-athletes on the expectations and time demands of being a Division I student-athlete.
  • Providing a more comprehensive time management seminar for student-athletes.

The committee is working closely with the NCAA research department to formulate the survey, which will include sport-specific questions.  

“This is an opportunity for SAAC to make a real, meaningful difference within the NCAA and we are asking student-athletes across the country to share their voice through this survey,” said Rachel Scott, SAAC co-vice-chair and a member of the University of Texas softball team. “This survey will provide us feedback for all sports, all experiences and from all perspectives. It will empower us to make a more informed decision.”

Other business:

  • The committee also discussed another of its top priorities: improving financial literacy among college athletes. SAAC hopes to establish standards for institutions to teach athletes practical financial lessons that will serve them well both in college and after they leave campus. Additionally, the committee is developing a best-practices document for college athletes on financial literacy.
  • SAAC met with members from the NCAA communications staff to discuss outreach efforts.
  •  The committee was briefed and educated on the implications of sports wagering.