COLCHESTER, Vt. - Saint Michael's College women's volleyball junior Sarah Rodgers (Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire) was recently chosen to serve on the NCAA Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) as the Northeast-10 Conference's lone representative.
Rodgers' term began in June and runs through the end of the January 2020 NCAA Convention. Her first order of business was attending SAAC's national meeting in June at the NCAA's headquarters in Indianapolis. "I met some really great people from other schools, and it was so nice to see where the organization is located," said Rodgers. "It was an awesome experience. I learned a lot, and I'm excited to start seeing some plans and ideas from the SAAC implemented in the NE10 and at our school. It was such an honor and pleasure to be there."
Rodgers is one of 28 student-athletes from around the country serving on the Division II SAAC. A captain for her junior year, Rodgers is a member of the College's SAAC while also being involved with the Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts (MOVE) and Green Up at Saint Michael's. She is an environmental studies: justice and sustainability major, having landed on the Dean's List each of her first four semesters.
After appearing primarily as a service specialist as a first-year, when she registered 18 aces in 16 matches, Rodgers was part of a two-setter system in 2016 that allowed her to tally 230 assists, 89 digs and 13 aces. She is one of six upperclassmen returning to a 14-woman roster this fall.
"SAAC does such a good job of creating opportunities for student-athletes to make a difference in the community and for the charities that schools and organizations have close partnerships with," said Rodgers. "It's rewarding to be able to set up and create opportunities that change lives. Even if we don't realize that we are making change, we matter and do a lot for people who really need people to care and make a difference."
The SAAC serves as the primary governance arm representing student-athlete interests in Division II affairs. SAAC members serve as student-athlete liaisons that monitor and discuss happenings on campuses, within conference and at the national level. Representatives are responsible for gathering feedback and reporting on behalf of their conference, as well as relaying important events, hot topics and educational information to both the campus and conference levels. In addition to relaying information across campuses and conferences, the committee speaks on behalf of the entire Division II student-athlete body throughout the NCAA governance structure. Members serve as voting members on a number of Division II committees, including the Management Council. The SAAC also has voting authority during the Division II Business Session at the annual NCAA Convention. For more information, visit here.
"I think that the NE10 is special because we have smaller schools than most other conferences, so we have the opportunity to get more involved and be more connected as a conference to do some good," said Rodgers. "It's a great opportunity for student voices to be heard nationally."
Division II's SAAC currently includes representatives from each of the 24 Division II multi-sport voting conferences, one representative of Division II independent institutions, and two at-large representatives. Additionally, two members of the Management Council and one member of the Presidents Council serve as ex-officio and nonvoting members. The Division II SAAC Nominating Subcommittee selects national committee members from a diverse pool of candidates that conference offices submit. The Division II Management Council ratifies the appointments, and each student-athlete serves a non-renewable three-year term.
The Division II SAAC was established in August 1997 upon the NCAA-wide SAAC, which began in 1989, being split to three entities for each of the NCAA's three divisions. The Division II SAAC is comprised of female and male student-athletes of various diversities charged with its initial goal, to offer student-athlete input on NCAA activities and proposed legislation affecting student-athlete well-being. To fulfill this charge, Division II SAAC members serve not only on the committee, but are also engaged in many NCAA opportunities where they may speak on NCAA issues. These opportunities include, but are not limited to, serving on Association-wide committees, serving on division-specific committees, speaking and voting on the NCAA Convention floor, and playing significant roles in the NCAA leadership conferences.