CORTLAND, N.Y. - This past week, members of the State University of New York (SUNYAC) Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) had the privilege of attending and participating in this year’s NCAA Convention held in Nashville, Tennessee at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. The convention, which concluded on Saturday, January 21, gave the opportunity for athletic directors, commissioners, presidents and chancellors, of all divisions, to collectively come together to focus on the overall student-athlete experience.
Over a four-day period, SUNYAC representatives including Ben Chatley (Fredonia), Bryan Somar (Geneseo), Taylor O'Halloran (Cortland), Ed Suriano (Brockport) Sean Maloney (Oswego) and National SAAC Representative Zach Cook (Brockport) participated in business forums aimed at discussing various issues surrounding intercollegiate athletics within the NCAA.
Ed Suriano, President of both SUNYAC SAAC and Brockport SAAC, described this opportunity as both “enlightening” and “exhilarating.”
"Not only did my fellow SUNYAC SAAC representatives and I have the opportunity to meet like minded student-athletes, but we also had the distinct privilege of voicing our opinion on NCAA legislation that affects us on a day to day basis,” the Brockport senior explained.
Sensing the bigger picture of being at this years convention, Fredonia’s Ben Chatley and SUNYAC SAAC Alternate Cabinet Member mentioned “We all had the pleasure of meeting and discussing various athletic topics with administrators, athletic directors, coaches, and other student-athletes from all across the country; this gave us a way to not only gain differing perspectives to subject matter but gaining new friendships in the process.”
Reflecting back on her week, SUNYAC SAAC Vice President of Communications, Taylor O’Halloran (Cortland), says that the opportunity “has been eye opening to see how hard the administrators, commissioners, and other staff work to provide student-athletes with the best college experience.”
While the week mosty discussed legislation and proposals to improve the student-athlete experience, SUNYAC SAAC members also had the honor of meeting Presidential Medal of Honor Recipient U.S. Army Capt. Florent Groberg and 2016 Rio Olympic Gold Medalist Taylor Ellis-Watson, among other honored former student-athletes.
SUNYAC SAAC members are now able to come back to their respective institutions with a wealth of knowledge, and an optimistic outlook on the future of intercollegiate athletics.
“Having the opportunity to attend the NCAA Convention through the SUNYAC was incredible. Being here has allowed me to see the significance of the voice of the student-athlete within the NCAA. Overall, I'm extremely thankful for the opportunity and excited to bring back what I have learned to my campus and fellow student athletes,” O’Halloran explains.