Bradley Maldonado, a senior cross country student-athlete at Lincoln Memorial in Harrogate, Tenn., joined the Railsplitters’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as a freshman and was named chair of the Division II national SAAC as a junior. Maldonado took a break from SAAC’s fall meetings to discuss his experiences on the committee.
Champion: How did you get involved with SAAC?
Maldonado: I have done clubs and organizations in high school so I knew that I wanted to do it in college. It was just one group I found a fondness for because they are driven, they are motivated, they are willing to make some change and they are not going to be satisfied with the status quo.
Champion: How is the student-athlete’s voice heard through SAAC?
Maldonado: You can see how much it moves the membership when the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee members get up and speak on stage. ... The administrators really want to know because there’s not that many student-athletes when we go to Convention. It’s just the SAAC and maybe a few groups, and they are always asking us, ‘Hey what do you think about this?’ and, ‘What do you think about this?’
CHAMPION: What would you tell incoming student-athletes who don’t know about SAAC? How would you encourage them to get involved?
Maldonado: Always ask questions, is one of the things that over my entire life I have encouraged other people to do. It’s gotten me in trouble, but for the most part it’s definitely benefited my life. Ask questions and be motivated. ... Get to know what’s going on around you. Just be involved. That’s the biggest thing, is just be involved.
CHAMPION: When you look back on your college career, how do you think you will look at the SAAC experience?
Maldonado: You know it’s something that I’ll never forget. SAAC has given me so much and it’s really the highest standard that I can possibly hold an organization. It adds just a richness that you can’t understand unless you are in it. – B.H.