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 information that follows will assist you in understanding how the network of SAACs, from individual campus committees to the conference and/or national committees, interact and support one another to shape intercollegiate athletics policy and enhance the student-athlete experience.
History of the NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee
An Association-wide SAAC was adopted at the 1989 NCAA Convention and was formed primarily to review and offer student-athlete input on NCAA activities and proposed legislation that affected student-athlete welfare.
The initial national committee was comprised of student-athletes from all membership divisions for the purpose of ensuring that the student-athlete voice was one that accounted for the myriad of educational and athletics experiences of both female and male student-athletes at all NCAA member institutions. In August 1997, the NCAA federated along divisional lines. The federation caused the SAAC to expand to three SAACs representing NCAA Divisions I, II and III.
Each national divisional committee is comprised of both female and male student-athletes charged with the responsibility of assisting in the review of NCAA proposed legislation and representing the voice of the student-athlete in the NCAA governance structure. This is accomplished by providing student-athlete input on issues related to student-athlete welfare that are division-specific. (Federation has increased student-athlete participation in the governance process of intercollegiate athletics by increasing the number of SAAC members from the former Association-wide committee of 28 student-athletes to a sum total of 79 members serving on the national Divisions I, II, and III committees).
The input of the respective Divisions I, II and III SAACs continues to be sought by a variety of constituencies within the Association. Student-athlete committee members have the opportunity to speak with their respective NCAA Management Councils, and the Divisions II and III SAACs continue to speak to legislative issues on the NCAA Convention floor.
National SAACs (Divisions I, II and III) at a glance:
- Generate a student-athlete voice within the NCAA structure.
- Solicit student-athlete response to proposed NCAA legislation.
- Recommend potential NCAA legislation.
- Review, react and comment to the governance structure on legislation, activities and subjects of interest.
- Actively participate in the administrative process of athletics programs and the NCAA.
- Promote a positive student-athlete image.
Mission Statement of the National SAACs
"The mission of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is to enhance the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity, protecting student-athlete welfare and fostering a positive student-athlete image."
Campus, Conference and Divisional SAACs
Though the focus of campus SAACs is intended to be more parochial in nature, communication among campus and national SAACs offers student-athletes the opportunity to shape the landscape of intercollegiate athletics.
Functions of campus SAACs:
- Promote communication between athletics administration and student-athletes.
- Disseminate information.
- Provide feedback and insight into athletics department issues.
- Generate a student-athlete voice within the campus athletics department formulation of policies.
- Build a sense of community within the athletics program involving all athletics teams.
- Solicit student-athlete responses to proposed conference and NCAA legislation.
- Organize community service efforts.
- Create a vehicle for student-athlete representation on campus-wide committees (e.g., student government).
- Promote a positive student-athlete image on campus.
Members of a campus SAAC have the opportunity to address issues affecting student-athletes at their institution; furthermore, members have the opportunity to offer input on issues which may be national in scope.
The campus committee is meant to serve as a local student-athlete voice in addressing issues of student-athlete welfare at their respective institutions. Campus committees can facilitate better communication among student-athletes from various athletics teams to address issues common to all.
The campus SAAC may also serve as a conduit of communication among student-athletes, coaches and athletics administrators on issues to improve the student-athlete experience and promote growth and education through sports participation. Concerns can be voiced and solutions offered regarding any issue that may be relevant to NCAA student-athletes.
Through the grass-roots efforts of campus SAACs, student-athletes have the opportunity to change the face of intercollegiate athletics.
Campus SAAC Executive Board
The NCAA recommends the creation of some type of executive board to oversee the operation of campus SAACs. Traditional board member positions include chairperson, chair-elect, secretary/treasurer and chairpersons of any standing subcommittees. All of these positions should be held by student-athletes.
Constitution and Bylaws
The constitution of the campus SAAC is a document written by the executive board and approved by the representatives. The constitution is essential to outline the policies and operating procedures of the committee. It should include the name and purpose of the committee, membership, leadership structure, standing committees, philosophy, advisors, impeachment process, veto powers, ratification and amendment procedures and voting and meeting requirements. It should be noted that many institutions require that an organization have bylaws to be an officially recognized student committee. Copies of campus SAAC bylaws and models are available through the NCAA national office.
Campus SAAC Enhancement Ideas
Create an annual report for your campus SAAC. Include concerns, committee actions, yearly activities, special honors or recognition received by teams or student-athletes, graduation rate information and other relevant topics. Present and distribute the annual SAAC report to constituent groups (e.g., athletics administrators, athletics council, Board of Trustees, coaches, faculty, CHAMPS/Life Skills Advisory Team, your conference SAAC and national SAAC). Collaborate with other student organizations on campus to organize activities. Support your institution's CHAMPS/ Life Skills Program.