By Kira Roberts, Layout Editor
The Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) is a somewhat overlooked, but important, group of students on campus. While not many people even know they exist, they spend a lot of time and effort as the voice of student athletes to the athletic administration, faculty and student body.
The Athlete Ministry Council was formed in 2006, which then became the SAAC in the spring of 2011. The purposes haven’t changed, but it is now influenced by the NCAA program.
According to Paul McGrady, the purpose of this group is to “assist with community service, campus issues, questions and concerns of the student athlete, among others. Last year they raised $400 for the Angel Tree Ministry with a hotdog cookout at the Oklahoma Christian baseball and softball game. The SAAC helps lead Fields of Faith during the fall semester, Courts of Praise in the spring, and athlete chapel. Last year, they made a recommendation for faculty to consider a “dead week” before finals each semester.
SAAC Secretary Ellen Martin said that this group is important because it gives athletes a voice in the athletic department and academics.
“It continues to push the beliefs of this university as well as our individual goals in spiritual, physical, and mental development in an increasingly secular college environment,” Martin said.
“One of our goals is to continue to build bridges between students and student athletes” McGrady said. “We feel a lot of progress has been made on campus in this regard. We want student athletes to know that they have a representative on their team that they can go to if they have questions or concerns.”
McGrady also mentioned that the SAAC is one of a number of groups in the NCAA model that are in place to ensure a positive student athlete experience. The SAAC representatives are expected to be leaders on campus as they serve as the liaison between the athletic department and the student athletes of each team.