The NCAA Convention from the eyes of a SCAC Student-Athlete - Day Three

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference is being represented by 18 student-athletes at the 2012 NCAA Convention this week. Made possible through the NCAA Division III Strategic Initiative Grant, the 18 student-athletes will participate in activities ranging from education sessions to business sessions to the NCAA Honors Celebration.

Thursday at the NCAA Convention featured another blur of activity for the SCAC's 18 student-athletes. One highlight came in an early morning educational session - The Division III Student-Athlete Experience. This session provided an opportunity for the SCAC 18 to not only listen to the panel, but to also interact with those in attendance and to answer questions from the dias.

Junior volleyball player Raven Scott of Millsaps College (pictured left) will write a daily blog, recapping some of the activities that she and her fellow student-athletes are experiencing. Below is her entry for Thursday: 

8:00 a.m., Indianapolis, Indiana. Is it really 30 degrees? Does the world not know the first letter in SCAC stands for SOUTHERN, which in short stands for "anything less than 65 degrees and I refuse to get out of bed!"

With chances of snow on the horizon, the SCAC delegates headed to a very important session. The Division III Student-Athlete Experience session was a statistics-based comparison of the experience student-athletes encounter compared to the rest of the student body. Not only were we able to see the statistics, we were able to speak to those attending the convention and actually tell our stories and share our opinions. We all raved on the importance of a campus visit and the time commitment athletics and class require. Brittiny Casteen (Hendrix College) calculated the number of hours it requires to be a student-athlete and awed the attendees at how little time is left for other activities without very strict time management. Our words did not fall on deaf ears. We were commended by multiple individuals, including university presidents, for our comments and our presence.

At the Association Luncheon we sat and discussed sports issues amongst ourselves. We discussed how much we enjoyed each other's company at the convention, but on the playing field it's all business--true competitive spirits. It's wonderful being amongst Division III athletes. Not only do we share common sport experiences, we all absolutely love "the game." There is a lot of talk at the convention about DI and DII athletes and education; for us, it's more than talk and discussion, we love the game and the academics with no incentive of athletic scholarship to sway our ties.

The luncheon began with a moving video about the progress that has been made since the advent of Title IX legislation. It has been 40 years since the initial legislation and from the number of women at the conference, the legislation has obviously made its impact. Even within our group, the female SAAC members outnumber the males twelve to six.
 

The keynote speaker, Gregory Williams, author of "Life on the Color Line: The True Story of a White Who Discovered He Was Black" and President of the University of Cincinnati,  spoke on his experiences and how much we have grown in regards to diversity and inclusion yet how much room we have to continually improve. His speech and experiences were very powerful and touching, but something that stuck with me was his comment on using sports as an arena for educating young people and provide opportunities for success on and off the field.

After the lunch, we headed to the NCAA Hall of Champions in the snow (yes, we are southern, it was freezing, and I swear I learned what hypothermia must feel like). The Hall of Champions was a display of all NCAA championship sports with banners of champions displayed and lists of all NCAA schools. It also featured an interactive section where we were able to simulate activities such as shooting a penalty kick in soccer or throwing a football to a receiver. Let's just say, not all of us are the next Drew Brees and it's no wonder none of us are quarterbacks.

The opening business session began at 4 p.m., with the President of the NCAA, Mark Emmert, delivering a speech on the changes we need to make after 2011. He stated that their are no "magic solutions" or "easy buttons" to solving the issues in the NCAA, but many complex yet manageable solutions. He focused on the topic of educating our athletes and proceeded to give the NCAA President's Gerald R. Ford Award to the University of Tennessee's head basketball coach, Pat Summitt, for her dedication to just that; using the court as a classroom for success.

After a long day, we wound down with a relaxing dinner and a round of glow in the dark mini golf. Tomorrow brings another day of learning and growing and as DIII athletes, we are ready to discover, develop, and dedicate. Until then, we will get what every DIII student-athlete needs more of....SLEEP!    

Check back each day for more updates from Raven. You can also follow along for updates on twitter - @SCAC_Sports.