The annual National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Convention occurred from Jan. 14 to Jan. 17 in Washington D.C. The Convention’s purpose is the vote on legislation for Division I, II and III athletics. The event gives attendees the opportunity to sit in on numerous educational sessions on topics such as fundraising, student health, championship attendance and emotional intelligence, all in the hopes of making each NCAA member institution a better place.
Elizabethtown College sent one student athlete to the Convention along with three administrative representatives. Senior field hockey player, Kendra Hudson, attended the Convention along with Athletic Director Nancy Latimore, Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Jonathon Coren and President Carl Strikwerda.
Hudson attended the Convention as a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). The committee consists of student athletes who serve their institution in multiple capacities. The Committee is based on service and serving the community. However, one of the main responsibilities of SAAC members is to review legislation for their school. In October 2014, Etown reviewed Division III legislation and sent Hudson and fellow senior Alex Holbert to the Landmark Conference SAAC meeting. They discussed legislation with representatives from the other Landmark institutions and the assistant Landmark commissioner.
Hudson’s attendance at the Convention was an eye-opening experience for her. “I feel that I gained further knowledge of how NCAA legislation works,” Hudson said. “The NCAA legislation is highly discussed and debated over multiple days amongst over 3,000 people.”
The National SAAC consists of members from almost every conference around the country. The National SAAC receives two votes, along with one representative from each school, at the final business session of the NCAA Convention. There, votes are made on the legislation discussed throughout the year leading up to the Convention. Latimore was Etown’s representative at this year’s Convention. The voting of legislation sets Division III athletics apart because Division I and II schools do not yet have the opportunity to vote.
The Convention packed many activities into each day so that the attendees were constantly involved. On the second day of the Convention, Hudson and the other Landmark representatives attended four different lectures and had the opportunity to listen to the keynote speaker, Oliver Luck. Luck is the father of current NFL quarterback Andrew Luck and played in the NFL as a quarterback between 1982 and 1986. Luck discussed what it is like to be a collegiate student athlete with the SAAC Presidents of Division I, II and III schools.
Hudson attended an honors dinner, which recognized a number of outstanding student athletes. Hudson said the honors dinner was her favorite part of the Convention. “During this dinner, we met people who were extraordinary student-athletes,” Hudson said. “Each of these people impacted their institution and community in a positive manner. Each of their stories were truly inspirational and made me want to be a better person.”
The attendees also had the opportunity to sit in on the opening business session with NCAA President Mark Emmert. The Convention was an opportunity for representatives of all institutions to meet and discuss issues within their SAAC. The student athletes were then able to speak with athletic directors, presidents, coaches and faculty members to discuss issues involving budgets, diversity, non-traditional seasons and legislation.
The Landmark Conference held its own meeting during the Convention to discuss legislation and the upcoming seasons in regards to their conference specifically. The culmination of the Convention was the last business session, consisting of the representatives of each school voting on the NCAA legislation.
“Overall, I am incredibly grateful for this experience,” Hudson said. “It was by far one of the best experiences that I have had in college.”