Apr 11, 2006

National Student-Athlete Day

by Amy Field

On April 5, Wednesday morning, a service was held during Liberty’s Convocation to honor students who excel as athletes and in their academics. The service was organized by the student board of Liberty’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), in connection with National Student-Athlete Day (NSAD).

NSAD, which serves to raise awareness about student-athletes and their accomplishments in the classroom and community, has existed since 1987 and is traditionally celebrated on April 6. Since its founding, participation in the program in both high schools and colleges has sky-rocketed. The program is associated with many respected organizations including the NCAA. 

Evan Falat, a distance runner for Liberty as well asand president of the Liberty chapter of SAAC, also participated in the honoring of student-athletes at Liberty. Each of Liberty’s sport programs have chosen two representatives to serve on the board. 

“The SAAC is a go-between for the student-athletes and the university administration,” said Falat.
The SAAC is also going to be involved this year with the creation of a Flames Club especially for Liberty’s students. The $25 charge will cover perks like cheaper tickets to games and the opportunity of a pre-organized tailgating party for student fans. 

According to http://www.nsad.cc, “National Student-Athlete Day is one of America’s strongest endeavors to increase the positive virtues of sport and the recognition of student-athletes nationwide.”
The students who qualified for this recognition must have maintained at minimum a 3.0 GPA and been involved in the local community. 

Among the student-athletes honored on Wednesday were Allyson Fasnacht, a guard for the Lady Flames basketball team, and Tanya Payne, a midfielder for the Lady Flames soccer team, both of whom are SAAC board members.

“It’s nice to be recognized,” said Payne, after convocation was dismissed. “I think people have a funny perspective of what athletes (do). They just think we’re on scholarship and get to go home-free, but we have practices, then lifting and then we have to go to class and try to stay awake, and you know, eat the (cafeteria) food and try to perform.” 

Fasnacht agreed, saying, “People have misconceptions about what we do, with our free time, how much free time we actually have,” she said. 

The activities the athletes are involved with to help their communities can come in many different forms. Working with children is a favorite of many student-athletes. 

“A bunch of the basketball girls do the reading club, we get involved with local churches and we put on clinics after our games for kids,” Fasnacht said. “This semester I’m with the SAAC for my Christian service.” 

“(Our team) coaches little kids’ (soccer) teams with the YMCA,” Payne said. “It’s a lot of fun.” 

In a quote from the NSAD Web site, Dr. Richard Lapchick, who is the founder and Executive Director of the National Consortium for Academics and Sports, one of the organizations that started NSAD, voiced his hopes for the student-athlete tribute. “…That high schools, colleges and universities will take advantage of this opportunity to honor their outstanding student-athletes. National Student-Athlete Day is a powerful opportunity to promote those who have become leaders and have gone above and beyond what is expected. Honored student-athletes have demonstrated the most important things we can get by being involved in sport.”

Contact Amy Field at afield@liberty.edu.

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