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Mary Hardin-Baylor junior volleyball player Sara Hayward, LeTourneau senior golfer Leslie Lee, Concordia University Texas senior soccer player Lya Morfitt, Mary Hardin-Baylor junior baseball player Seth Lynn and Concordia University Texas sophomore soccer player Dalaine Whitlock had the opportunity to attend the 2011 NCAA Convention Jan. 12-15 in San Antonio.
Made possible through an NCAA Division III Strategic Initiatives Grant, the five student-athletes from American Southwest Conference schools participated in activities ranging from educational sessions to Friday’s Honors Celebration and Saturday’s Division III business session. The student-athletes heard NCAA President Mark Emmert speak on the state of the Association and witness Penn State football coaching legend Joe Paterno accept the Gerald R. Ford Award.
“The opportunity to share the NCAA Convention with students is one of the best experiences the ASC has provided its membership,” ASC Commissioner Amy Carlton said. “The five made the most of not only the educational aspect of Convention, but also took advantage of networking with other students, administrators and sports business professionals.”
In addition to experiencing the sit-down sessions, Hayward, Lee, Morfitt, Lynn and Whitlock were able to have a working-lunch meeting with the Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
“It was interesting to see that as a student-athlete, it is important to voice your opinion,” Lynn said. “To see the effect the national SAAC has on the whole NCAA was really cool.”
The student-athletes also had the pleasure of meeting NCAA award winners such as former NFL/MLB star Bo Jackson, current New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, PGA star Scott Verplank, five-time U.S. women’s basketball Olympic champion Teresa Edwards and Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy. Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody was presented with the NCAA’s highest honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Award. The student-athletes were also able to personally talk with the U.S. Army four-star general.
“Seeing how athletics influenced all these successful people’s lives just made me appreciate the whole experience and everything I’ve learned in my four years of playing golf at LeTourneau,” Lee said.
The five ASC student-athletes joined four from the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference and one from the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference at the Convention. Each student-athlete sat with representatives from their own school during the legislative voting on the final day.
“It is encouraging to see all the great things that are happening on the national level,” Whitlock said. “It motivates you to want to do more to make our campus better, make our conference better and just make the all-around student-athlete experience better.”
For photos click here.