SAN DIEGO, Calif. - More than 200 NCAA student-athletes representing all sports and various campus academic departments will meet this week for the annual NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum. Representing the West Coast Conference will be University of San Diego junior midfielder Rachel Conners, from the women's soccer team.
"I feel very honored on being chosen for this opportunity," stated Conners. "This is a great opportunity for the school, and team, and for me to experience all that is going on. I am very excited to interact with other athletes, and other leaders in the NCAA. I will be bringing back things I learn, and help implement them in the USD athletics department and women's soccer team."
The conference will be held April 7-10 in Phoenix. It will be led by 20 facilitators who applied through the national office and were selected by a membership committee to complete facilitation training and then conduct the curriculum at the Leadership Forum.
The leadership development and governance groups at the NCAA national office collaborate to host the forum, which will also include 70 athletics administrators, coaches and faculty from colleges and universities in attendance.
"The Student-Athlete Leadership Forum is an excellent way to provide student-athletes with a nontraditional form of education that centers on developing them as leaders in their communities and on their campuses," said Curtis J. Hollomon, NCAA director of leadership development. "It ultimately prepares them for life after their collegiate playing days are over."
During the forum, the student-athletes will be separated into small teams for projects and discussions. The facilitators lead the teams each day and spur conversations that help the student-athletes with analytical thinking and ways to address any topics and concerns they may have on issues that impact them on their campuses.
Attendees are scheduled to hear and engage with keynote speakers LaChina Robinson, TV analyst for women's basketball and former women's basketball player at Wake Forest University, and Justin Patton, a certified body language and communications skills coach.
During the forum, the student-athletes will learn more about NCAA governance structures and how committees work and make membership decisions. They'll also learn more about Student-Athlete Advisory Committees, the voice of the student-athlete body within the NCAA governance structure, and how impactful they can be at the national, campus and conference levels -- and be encouraged to share their knowledge with their campus SAAC. Additionally, the student-athletes will participate in a community service project to benefit Helen's Hope Chest, Child Crisis Arizona and the local school children in Phoenix.
NCAA leadership development, located at the NCAA national office in Indianapolis, coordinates and facilitates education and training for student-athletes, coaches and athletics administrators. The staff annually hosts programs at little or no cost to members, using expert curriculum designed to enhance the well-being and personal development of college athletes. The staff also provides ongoing education and topical training to athletics professionals who identify and serve student-athlete needs. For more information, visit www.NCAA.org/leadershipdevelopment.