NCAA Convention

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By: Shana Levine
Associate Athletic Director

This past week was the NCAA Convention down in San Antonio – the NCAA Convention is one of those events that is both exhausting and energizing all at the same time.  We arrived in San Antonio on Wednesday – after significantly fewer travel issues than we anticipated.  Apart from the ridiculously early departure times, it was pretty smooth sailing from Charlottesville to Charlotte and then onto San Antonio.  Once we arrived, we realized that most of our colleagues in the northeast did not experience such a smooth trip.  There were three of us from W&L that headed out to San Antonio – Jan Hathorn (Athletics Director), Ellen Mayock (Faculty Athletics Representative) and I.  It’s great to be able to have so many representatives attend!

So, let’s talk about some highlights…and what actually goes on at the NCAA Convention.  First of all, it’s important to note that the convention is not division-specific, but a place where all three divisions get together and work on association-wide topics and then break into divisions and vote on legislation.

Highlights

President Mark Emmert at the Opening Business Session

• Opening Business Session.  This was President Mark Emmert’s first Convention as President of the NCAA and the first in a long time without the late Myles Brand.  Right off the bat, the session had a much different feel than in recent years.  President Emmert wore a wireless mic and walked around the stage engaging the audience in his presentation.  He then interviewed three student-athletes to illustrate the values he believes are core to the Association.  The student-athletes featured were Ashley Karpinos of Kenyon (swimming), Robert Griffin of Baylor (football) and Neely Spence of Shippensburg (cross country, track and field).  It was nice to see all three divisions highlighted!

Bo Jackson at the Honors Dinner

• Seeing Bo Jackson at the bar.  Bo was one of the award winners at the Honors Dinner on Friday evening.  But, on Thursday night, he was just hanging out at the hotel bar.  Kinda cool.  I congratulated him on Auburn’s National Championship.

• Seeing the Convention through the eyes of a first-time attendee.  I am lucky enough to have a law extern from the W&L law school that is interested in getting into intercollegiate athletics.  The externship allows students to get class credit at the law school through experiential field-learning working in the W&L athletic department.  My extern for the Winter 2011 term is Megan and she took the initiative to get herself to the NCAA Convention to see (1) what really goes on there and (2) if she really wants to work in college athletics.  It was great to see her reactions to all the events and meetings – and I think we have another lawyer to athletics administrator convert.  Excellent!

• Catching up with old friends over good food and drinks.  While the River Walk is usually the highlight of any trip to San Antonio – it rained for 3 straight days, making the River Walk considerably less appealing.  So, instead we took cabs to a few places and mostly hung out at the hotel bar – it’s always amazing to me how many great people work in college athletics.  And I love catching up with my friends from the NCAA – miss you all!

Division III Session photo

• Division III Sessions.  The Division III Business Session always amazes me.  This session is Saturday morning and where representatives from every Division III school and conference come together in one room and vote on the legislative changes for that year.  It ends up being a room filled with about 1500 folks and is the best example of how the NCAA really is a member-run organization.  So cool.

• Steelers Game at the Hyatt Bar.  Sooo…since we had meetings until Saturday afternoon and we were very limited by the number of flights into the happening Charlottesville, VA airport, we stayed over Saturday night as well.  Obviously, this meant that I packed my Steelers jersey in preparation and then headed down to the hotel bar to watch the game.  I was ready to retreat to back to my room at halftime, but I stayed and then was able to heckle some Ravens fans with other hilarious “yinsers” from Pittsburgh.  Turned out to be a great evening!

So, now we are looking forward to Indianapolis in 2012 and San Diego in 2013!

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