What is SAAC?

Jesse Kohler

The Student Athletic Advisory Committee at Oberlin College goes largely unnoticed, but that doesn’t meant they are irrelevant. In fact, the committee is just one small branch of a powerful national organization. The mission of the National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is “to enhance the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity, protecting student-athlete well-being and fostering a positive student-athlete image.”

More specifically, the Oberlin College SAAC hopes to fulfill four roles in the lives of our student-athletes: to serve as a liaison between student-athletes and the Department of Athletics, to create a link between student-athletes and the Oberlin community, to improve the overall experience of student-athletes and to promote growth and education through sports participation.

SAAC is comprised of members from each varsity sports team, all of whom belong to groups that can bring the faculty’s attention to any problems, questions or concerns that may occur. The SAAC co-chairs, senior track and field member Alexander Guo and senior women’s lacrosse player Molly Bloom, lead the meetings, overlooking SAAC initiatives and resolving any complaints that are made.

With these objectives, SAAC ultimately aims to provide a bridge among the various groups within the Athletics department.

“Something that always presents a challenge is communicating effectively to coaches and administrators, in addition to the entire student-athlete community,” said Guo. “Furthermore, with the drastic increase of SAAC members over the past few years, it is hard to have an appropriately ambitious agenda with the limited funding we get.”

As a first-year, SAAC treasurer and junior track and field member Sophia Brancazio was surprised by the low turnout at sporting events.

“My goal in joining SAAC was just to help athletics at Oberlin grow and to get people to realize that athletics is a huge part of Oberlin,” said Brancazio.

SAAC reaches out to the greater community through organizing the Special Olympic Swim Meet, helping to coordinate events during Homecoming weekend and giving out healthy snacks during finals period.

Although providing a resource for student-athletes and managing these events can take a lot of work, the members were quick to voice their appreciation for SAAC.

“SAAC isn’t just a resource for student-athletes to voice their concerns, but it’s also a way to celebrate being a college athlete and also a way to give back,” Brancazio noted.

Guo added, “One of the most validating aspects of being a SAAC member is knowing that the decisions that SAAC makes directly impact nearly 400 members of the student body.”