MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois sophomore Jarrell Johnson (St. Louis, Mo./Gateway Tech) has been selected as the Mid-Continent Conference representative to the NCAA Division I Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Johnson, a two-sport athlete in football and track and field, is one of just 31 student-athletes across the nation that were chosen to represent their respective athletic conferences on the national committee.?It was definitely an honor to be chosen as a representative for the national Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. It?s a great opportunity to put Western Illinois University on the map, and to show everyone that the legacy of SAAC is deeply imbedded in the Midwest, and not just in the big cities and at the big schools,? said Johnson.According to the NCAA, the Division I National SAAC consists of one student-athlete from each of the 31 Division I conferences. Each student-athlete serves a two-year term. The Division I SAAC reports directly to the Division I Management Council, and two SAAC members participate in each meeting of the Management Council as nonvoting members. It is through these two mechanisms that NCAA Division I student-athletes offer input and assist in shaping the proposed legislation and other policies by which their division is governed.The mission of the NCAA Division I SAAC is to enhance the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity, protecting student-athlete well being, and fostering a positive student-athlete image.?Jarrell?s selection to the NCAA Division I SAAC is not a surprise to us here at Western,? said Director of Athletics Dr. Tim Van Alstine. ?He is THE definition of a student-athlete. Jarrell represents Western Illinois University at the highest level. We?re proud he?s one of ours, and the NCAA SAAC will benefit with Jarrell involved.?Johnson?s responsibilities have included attending a NCAA Division I SAAC conference in San Antonio last November, and a trip to the recent NCAA Convention held in Indianapolis in January. Upcoming events include teleconferences, meetings, and a second NCAA Division I SAAC conference in Indianapolis this November.In January, Johnson was named a member of the Diversity and Inclusion NCAA committee. The NCAA Office of Diversity and Inclusion formed a strategic planning committee comprised of university presidents, athletics directors, conference commissioners, coaches, sports officials and student-athletes to discuss and strategize on diversity and inclusion issues occurring within the NCAA structure, which includes its member colleges and universities.The specific charge of the strategic planning committee is to identify strategies and recommendations that will enable the NCAA to foster the diversity of student-athletes; promote a climate of inclusion within intercollegiate athletics; enhance equitable career opportunities for under-represented coaches, officials, and administrators; and strengthen the support, integration and promotion of women?s sports within intercollegiate athletics.?Overall, we felt like it was a very productive experience and that we got a lot done as far as lobbying to the management council and the NCAA board of directors. It was important for them to understand our views about the importance of being a student-athlete, and they were very onboard with our ideas. Together, we built a camaraderie, and at the same time gave them some different viewpoints,? Johnson concluded.
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