By Michael Sanders
Goucher Sports Information Director
Even though conspiring with the
enemy is frowned upon in most circles, Lexi Rudolph freely admits
that she will do just that in her new role as one of Goucher
College’s representatives to the Landmark Conference SAAC in
SAAC, which stands for Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, is a group made up of student-athletes assembled to provide insight on the student-athlete experience. Since 1995, the NCAA has mandated that each and every one of its Division III member institutions has a SAAC on its campus.
“I see the primary function of a SAAC to be facilitating and organizing community building events and fostering a positive environment for student-athletes to grow as individuals outside their respective teams,” said Rudolph, a rising junior who has earned two letters as a member of Goucher’s women’s soccer team. “SAAC is designed to expand the role of student-athletes on their campus through community service and integrate them into the greater community.”
NCAA legislation further requires that all Division III conferences administer a SAAC to provide student-athletes the opportunity to take an active role in the governance and legislation of the conference. The Landmark Conference SAAC is composed of two student-athletes from each member institution.
“Although I’m new in terms of being one of Goucher’s representatives, I’ve been told that when we get together each representative has the opportunity to discuss what his or her SAAC is doing,” Rudolph said. “Ideas are shared about how to make the SAACs back on our campuses more effective and more involved, and how to improve the role athletes play within their school community.”
So at one meeting Rudolph may advance an idea that the Goucher SAAC used successfully that allowed the institution’s student-athletes to perform a community service such as hosting a blood drive on campus or organizing a fundraiser for Special Olympics. Perhaps at that same meeting or possibly the next one, she will return to Goucher with a plan a SAAC from one of the other Landmark schools came up with to institute a “Campus Clean-Up” day or honor local military families by designing special clinics.
“My role as a representative is to discuss what Goucher’s SAAC is doing, which will perhaps benefit the other schools (in the Landmark Conference),” commented Rudolph. “Plus it’s also to listen to what the other representatives have to say and bring back their ideas that could be successful on our campus. Landmark’s SAAC can help by providing advice for potential events and describing past successes and failures of similar events.”
Rudolph believes Goucher’s SAAC will have an ambitious agenda in 2014-15 and she wouldn’t hesitate for a second to solicit some help from student-athletes from the other schools in the Landmark Conference, some of the same ones the Gophers will battle on the soccer pitches, the basketball, volleyball and tennis courts, the field hockey and lacrosse fields, the swimming pools, the cross country trails and the indoor and outdoor track and field facilities.
“One thing I’m trying to put in motion for the upcoming year is a dodgeball tournament to raise money for a scholarship fund in memory of Matt Gabriel,” she explained. “I think there’s a lot of support for having another play day in the spring and well as other community service events throughout the year. We’ll talk about a number of things aimed at fostering a closer relationship between athletics teams and building a greater support system among the athletes.
“I’m hoping my involvement in Landmark SAAC is beneficial, both for Goucher and the other schools in the conference. From the facilitation of ideas and discussions that take place when we meet, Landmark athletes who compete against one another all year will still be able to build closer relationships off the field.”