Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A-Sun NCAA SAAC Rep Katie DiGirolamo Report: BUSY!!

A-Sun National SAAC Representative Katie DiGirolamo from Stetson is attending the SAAC national meetings at the NCAA headquarters this week and will be providing daily updates from the meetings.

Thursday, July 25, 2013
It’s hard to believe I’m already writing about the third day! This has been yet another amazing summer meeting and I couldn’t have asked for better people to spend it with or better liaisons to organize it.

We started off the morning with a bang. We welcomed all NCAA staff and employees arriving at work with a slow-clap, cheers, chants, high gives and funny skits. Please just image 31 student-athletes (all dressed in jeans and our new swag t-shirts) enthusiastically greeting every individual that walked through the front door of the headquarters, even at 7:30 in the morning. There was a reason to our madness: we were collecting donations for our partnered charity of choice, Samaritan’s Feet.

Employees were informed a few days before that if they wanted to wear jeans, they could donate at least $5 to our cause. For the hour and a half we did this, we raised over $1000 which means about 65 new pairs of shoes can be shipped to those in need, anywhere in the world! If you want to learn more about Samaritan’s Feet, please feel free to visit www.samaritansfeet.org . We also hoped to brighten a few mornings in the process.

We were fortunate enough to greet Mark Emmert (President of the NCAA) with a personal handshake and introduction, which is pretty fantastic if you ask me. Off the record, President Emmert has been awesome about visiting and updating SAAC each meeting. He’s very supportive of our cause and whole-heartedly puts the student-athlete first.

We concluded our meeting with a follow up from the Institutional Performance Program, our plans for the SAAC’s 25th Anniversary at convention, brain-storming website ideas, and miscellaneous business. Then comes the worst part: having to say goodbye to our D1 SAAC Family, just trying to stay positive about our November meeting being only 4 months away. Thirty one hugs later, I am now writing this blog about 30,000 miles high.

Thank you to everyone who has spent the time reading my blog of the summer National Student-Athlete Advisory Council meeting. If you have any questions about SAAC or my experience, feel free to e-mail me at Katie.DiGirolamo23@gmail.com.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It’s been another long day of long meetings, guest speakers, and National SAAC business, but a great one, none the less. We started off the early morning with a visit from Jackie Campbell with Governance and Matt Brewer with Academic and Membership Affairs. It was really cool to be engaged in intelligent discussion regarding the governance process and the institutional performance program. We basically focused on issues regarding the student-athlete experience: health and safety, life skills, facilities tour, etc.

The nitty-gritty details and updates of legislative proposals from Bylaw 11, 13, 15 and 17 were then discussed…. And some of them at length. Honestly, we could probably go on for hours on some of the proposals, engaging in good discussion, brain-storming new ideas, and posing challenging questions. What can I say, it’s something all us nerds are passionate about ;).

Another great opportunity offered in National SAAC is being able to serve on a cabinet or committee within the membership. Some examples of these committees include the Amateurism Cabinet, Championships Cabinet, Academic Cabinet, and the Rules Working Group. Whenever they meet at the headquarters for meetings or teleconferences, the National SAAC representative is always invited. We took the time to update the group on 17 cabinets and committees and even provided feedback on certain issues. I am fortunate to be appointed to serve on the Awards, Benefits, Expenses and Financial Aid Cabinet with my first meeting in September.

If the meetings haven’t been long enough, we were still excited to hear from a Faculty Athletic Representative Association liaison, Christine Cooper from the US Naval Academy. Moral of the story - if you don’t know your FAR at your institution, you should get to because they can be super resourceful!

Victor Hill from the Championships Community Programs and Youth Clinics provided a social responsibility presentation centering on education, service, and legacy. Its mission is to teach social responsibility through service-learning and merge what’s important to both student-athletes and communities. The NCAA recognizes community service as an important aspect of being a student-athlete, and how big of an impact we can really make!

We finally get to break-out in to our SAAC Project Teams, and I lead my recently grown committee of 17 outside to talk about this newsletter. We’re super excited about its potential and growth, so athletes, be on the lookout from your SAAC to read the new and improved newsletter!


The NCAA business meetings may be done, but we still had a fully scheduled evening. We learned how to be proper during a 2 hour business etiquette dinner with Division III… which was a great learning experience, but honestly kind of difficult and a ton to remember! Good thing we were taking notes, because these life skills are extremely beneficial!

Our competitive sides break out when we play a Division I vs. Division III kickball game outside the headquarters to end the day. It was probably the most competitive kickball game I’ve ever been a part of, and DI ended up coming back to win 8-7 in the 7th. In the 3rd inning, the sprinklers came on, and made for a slippery and even more entertaining experience.

Finally, be sure to follow us on twitter, @Div1SAAC, to view the crazy fun pictures and updates from the kickball game and meetings!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day 1 of the National SAAC meeting is in the books! As always, it was great to be reunited with the old members and meet the new. There is never a dull moment as we moved through executive team meetings, new member orientation, and a list of awesome guest speakers who updated us on current NCAA happenings.

However, I have a quick disclaimer: we have something called the Vegas Rule, basically saying what is said here, stays here. But here’s a review of our day and looking forward to exploring Indy tonight and a full day of meetings tomorrow!

Derek Crawford and Laura Wurtz from the National Office Enforcement staff came to talk about their roles in development, investigating, and processing. We refreshed on the new enforcement working group recommendations (that go in to affect next week) which includes a multi-level violation structure, process enhancement and expediency, a matrix penalty structure, and addressing the accountability of team leadership.

Throughout processing cases and a considerable amount of media attention, it’s refreshing to see the enforcement counsel stick together in a sustainable working environment, and have faith in the good people working within. So in addition to learning more about infraction levels, we were offered great advice: “you will have a lot of fun at work by building strong relationships and surrounding yourself with good people.”

We next heard from the Eligibility Center: Mike Massa and Glenn Terry. They are currently working on a web portal for high school student athletes who are interested in learning about their options after graduation. Keep on the look-out for more resources coming your way!

The last few guest speakers covered current legal cases, student-athlete health and safety, and the promotion of women’s basketball. 


Want to learn more? Simply follow the news headlines! The NCAA is making huge efforts to preserve and enhance student-athlete welfare. The National SAAC is honored to offer our opinion as we try to best represent ourselves, our sports, institutions and conferences. 

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