Summit League Holds Annual SAAC Meeting

Summit League Holds Annual SAAC Meeting

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ELMHURST, Ill. – The Summit League Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) members recently met for its 13th annual SAAC summer meeting. 

The 16 student-athletes reviewed league measures for time demands, heard national reports on NCAA matters, while having discussions with various league staff members relating to championships and continuing to raise the profile of The Summit League. The committee also participated in a community service activity with the Ray Graham Association.

"Serving on SAAC is a great responsibility for all of us," Summit League SAAC President Omaha's Alexander Woodward (men's tennis) said. "Representing our fellow student-athletes and fighting for their needs is not an easy task. Everyone I met this weekend did a great job of sharing their campus concerns and collaborating to achieve a better Summit League student-athlete experience. I look forward to working with this group of representatives this year."

League items that were discussed included the SAAC Constitution, league time demands, and the newly formed Legislative Committee.  A review of the SAAC marketing and social media plans, the Food Fight initiative, along with campus SAAC involvement were also reviewed.

From a national standpoint, discussion items included the NCAA's Student-Athlete Experience Committee, conference SAAC best practices, transfer issues and early recruitment. Omaha's Woodward and Western Illinois' Kelsey Marlow (softball) shared their experiences attending the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum from the past year. Marlow also attended the NCAA's Career-in-Sports Forum and encouraged others to seek nomination for this event.

"We had constructive exchanges of thoughts and opinions about Summit League SAAC initiatives," SAAC Vice President Denver's Gracia Mboko (women's tennis) said. "Volunteering with the Ray Graham Association was special for us and we're glad we could be involved with their organization. To conclude a productive weekend, we went on a scavenger hunt around Chicago which was a lot of fun."

Between meetings, the group spent time instructing intramural games with participants at the Ray Graham Association. Games included inflatable ring toss, modified bocce ball, kickball and bean bag toss. The Ray Graham Association provides residential, educational, employment and family support services to over 2,000 people with disabilities in DuPage County.

"The SAAC members brought energy and lots of smiles during their visit with the people we support at Ray Graham Association," Kristen Garcia, Monarch Services Administrator said.  "Everyone had a great time with the intramural activities and watching SAAC members and the people we support have so much fun together was amazing."

Following the community service activity, the SAAC representatives participated in a scavenger hunt with their fellow peers by visiting many of Chicago's downtown tourist spots.

In addition, the SAAC recognized South Dakota State for claiming the league's annual Food Fight competition award by collecting over 43,800 pounds of food, which was donated to the Brookings Food Pantry. Over 105,800 pounds of food was collected by the nine participating schools last year.

2017-18 Summit League SAAC Representatives
Samir Almhiemid, Western Illinois (swimming & diving)
Logan Back, Omaha (swimming & diving)
Kirsten Burnett, Oral Roberts (track & field)
Mallory Fenske, North Dakota State (soccer)
Kevin Folman, North Dakota State (baseball)
Madison Guenzler, Oral Roberts (cross country/track & field)
Damian Helm, Fort Wayne (baseball)
Jack Holmgren, South Dakota (golf)
Brittany Jessen, South Dakota (volleyball)
Kelsey Marlow, Western Illinois (softball)
Gracia Mboko, Denver (tennis)
Victoria Mills, Fort Wayne (volleyball)
Mattison Munger, South Dakota State (volleyball)
Will Palmquist, Denver (soccer)
Danielle Steffo, South Dakota State (softball)
Alexander Woodward, Omaha (tennis)

Through 35 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 100,000 at eight institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University with the University of North Dakota becoming an official member on July 1, 2018. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced nine NCAA Champions along with over 90 Academic All-Americans, nearly 100 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague.