BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Twenty-eight Southeastern Conference student-athletes representing all 14 league institutions participated in a meeting of the SEC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) here Friday and Saturday.
The student-athletes took part in leadership development activities and were also educated on the SEC legislative process, the conference's governance structure and roles of campus administrators.
"We had a tremendous two days with our SEC SAAC representatives," said Misty Brown, the SEC's Director of Student-Athlete Engagement. "They realized some of the talents they have through the leadership activities and learned about our structure and legislative process. They were very engaged. I think one of the key highlights of this meeting was Commissioner (Greg) Sankey's involvement. He truly cares and wants their feedback, and they were able to see how much he values their opinions."
The focus of Friday's activities was leadership. The student-athletes were divided into groups and participated in various role play scenarios to help identify ingredients of being an effective leader.
Saturday's discussions began with a Q&A and lengthy dialogue with Sankey regarding current matters in college athletics.
"I'm interested in sports administration after college, so learning the background of what goes on in the SEC was very important for our wellness as athletes and students as well," said Vanderbilt's Oren Burks, who will participate in SEC Football Media Days on Monday. "It's powerful to see what people are doing on other campuses and how we can implement them on our own campus. We want to make an impact beyond our sports and in our community and society. I'm excited to mobilize our athletes and to make a difference."
Members of the SEC staff also reviewed NCAA and SEC legislation and led discussion on the NCAA autonomy and Division I shared governance and the SEC governance structure. Additionally, the student-athletes took part in a role play exercise with the purpose of understanding roles of campus administration.
"It was great to be able to come here and meet other student-athletes who go through what we go through on a daily basis," said Ole Miss softball's Alex Schneider. "I take a lot of pride in representing my school, and being selected for that is a boost to my confidence. It's a great start for us to make changes for a conference that's the best and is only getting better. This conference allows student-athletes the best opportunities and prepares us to have all the tools that we need to be successful on the college level and in life."
The 28 student-athletes who participated in the SEC SAAC summer meeting were:
Szymmy Day, Men's Swimming and Diving
Kat Hutson, Volleyball
Heather Elswick, Gymnastics
Eric Janise, Men's Track and Field
Kullen Hlawek, Gymnastics
Cara Stricklin, Gymnastics
Kevarrius Hayes, Men's Basketball
Kourtney Keegan, Women's Tennis
Haley Clark, Women's Basketball
Jimmy Hicks, Men's Cross Country/Track and Field
Danielle Galyer, Women's Swimming and Diving
Greg Hart, Football
Sydney Ewing, Gymnastics
Logan Rysemus, Men's Swimming and Diving
Peyton Moss, Men's Track and Field
Alex Schneider, Softball
Gabe Myles, Football
Blair Schaefer, Women's Basketball
Nolan Gromacki, Baseball
Gabi Jacobs, Women's Track and Field
Travis Morrin, Men's Swimming and Diving
Taylor Vincent, Women's Swimming and Diving
Patricia Forrester, Women's Swimming and Diving
Bridgette Villano, Volleyball
Kohl Anderson, Men's Track and Field
Sarah Shaw, Women's Soccer
Oren Burks, Football
Kayla Moran, Women's Swimming