June 25, 2014
NEW YORK – On Sunday and Monday, representatives from nine of the BIG EAST’s 10 member institutions came together in Providence, R.I., as part of its Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) meeting to discuss important NCAA, conference and college athletics matters with Conference staff.
“This was a great opportunity for these student-athletes to have an open dialogue with BIG EAST Commissioner Val Ackerman,” said Associate Commissioner Jennifer Condaras. “They were able to ask her questions on the future of the Conference and also provide some great feedback on improving the student-athlete experience.”
Included in the meeting was a presentation from sports psychologist Dr. Jarrod Spencer, president and founder of Mind of the Athlete, LLC, an organization that strives to strengthen and improve the emotional health of athletes, along with a trip to the Boys & Girls Club of Providence Fox Point Clubhouse. During the visit, student-athletes spoke with approximately 60 club members about their backgrounds and sports experiences, the importance of staying in school and how attaining a college education has allowed them the opportunity to participate in athletics at a high level. After the presentation, the student-athletes played basketball and soccer and participated in other activities with the club members.
“It was great to finally meet the leaders of our conference, both the administrators and-student athletes,” said Jesse Miser, SAAC Chair and a rising senior on the Butler men’s soccer team. “The discussions we had were very productive and it was very interesting to hear how all of the different schools seemed to have similar opinions. This and future meetings will hopefully make the BIG EAST the best in terms of student-athlete experience overall.”
“We place great value on the contributions of our student-athletes to university life and take great pride in the manner in which they represent our schools in intercollegiate competition,” said BIG EAST Commissioner Val Ackerman. “We look forward to working on an ongoing basis with our SAAC representatives to make sure that the concerns of our student-athletes are represented and their ideas about how to improve their athletic and academic experiences are integrated into our near- and long-term conference planning.”
Also in attendance from the BIG EAST Conference staff were Joseph D’Antonio, Senior Associate Commissioner, Ann Wells Crandall, Chief Marketing Officer, and Tania Kennedy, Director of Championships. In addition, Seton Hall Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator Kim Keenan-Kirkpatrick attended as an administrative liaison.
SAAC meets in person annually and participates in conference calls during the academic year.