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Representatives selected for proposed Association of Student-Athletes

February 17, 2015

By Angela Crawford, Manager of Marketing and Communications, NAIA

Kansas City, Mo. – The NAIA National Office announced that 27 student-athletes will serve on the proposed Association of Student-Athletes (ASA), a new group to be added to the NAIA governance structure if approved at the annual convention in April.

The proposed ASA would be the association’s first governance group made up entirely of students and function as the advocacy arm of the student-athlete collective. The ASA will include at least one representative from every conference, including the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.), and every NAIA championship sport.

Selection of the student-athlete representatives prior to convention was to ensure that the ASA could be functioning fully for the 2015-16 academic year.

“The ASA will allow student-athletes to have an input on the issues that directly impact them every day,” Kent Paulson, Chair of the Conference Commissioners Association and Frontier Conference Commissioner, said. “This group will have the unique opportunity to discuss matters most important to them on the NAIA’s biggest stage.”

Members of the proposed ASA were selected from a pool of nominees forwarded to the National Office by each conference and the A.I.I.

The ASA will be an association under the proposed Council for Student-Athletes (CSA), a new council that focuses on student-athlete health, safety and development, also to be approved at convention. The CSA will comprise representatives from other councils as well as nine members of the ASA, including the four officers.

Some of the topics the ASA will discuss in the coming year include the student-athlete experience, health and safety of student-athletes and Champions of Character initiatives.

“The student-athletes who will make up the ASA are great representatives of and ambassadors for the NAIA,” Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO, said. “We look forward to begin conversations with the ASA so we can learn more about the ideas they will be bringing to the table.”

Each member of the ASA will serve a two-year term; however, in the first year of the ASA, half the representatives were randomly selected to end their term early to create a staggered rollover each year.

2015-2016 Members of the proposed ASA*
Jordan Annis Bethel College (Ind.) Crossroads League Men's Indoor Track and Field
Ryan Armstrong Carroll College (Mont.) Frontier Conference Football
Vashni Balleste Xavier University (La.) Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Women's Tennis
Hope Biggs William Carey University (Miss.) Southern States Athletic Conference Women's Golf
Austin Blaue Ottawa University (Kan.) Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Men's Golf
Sidney Bosley Concordia University (Mich.) Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Women's Indoor Track and Field
Sam Buczek Central Baptist College (Ark.) Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference Baseball
Connor Clements Georgia Gwinnett College Association of Independent Institutions Men's Tennis
Taylor Cowan MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.) Heart of America Athletic Conference Volleyball
Courtney Dixon Valley City State University (N.D.) North Star Athletic Association Division II Women's Basketball
Sammantha Fajardo University of California - Merced California Pacific Conference Women's Cross Country
Bailee Fritts Kansas Wesleyan University Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Volleyball
BJ Groskreutz Northwestern College (Iowa) Great Plains Athletic Conference Wrestling
Sara Hall SCAD-Savannah (Ga.) The Sun Conference Women's Soccer
Brett Hodges William Woods University (Mo.) American Midwest Conference Men's Soccer
Tevin Hopkins University of St. Francis (Ill.) Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Men's Outdoor Track and Field
Luke Kadillak Vanguard University (Calif.) Golden State Athletic Conference Men's Soccer
Che'ron Lewis Langston University (Okla.) Red River Athletic Conference Division I Women's Basketball
Tyler Lucas Indiana University Kokomo Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Men's Cross Country
Laura Rose Pickens Truett-McConnell College (Ga.) Appalachian Athletic Conference Women's Golf
Billy Pryor Ave Maria University (Fla.) The Sun Conference Baseball
Elizabeth Rodriguez Our Lady of the Lake University (Texas) Red River Athletic Conference Softball
Chad Smurthwaite Warner Pacific College (Ore.) Cascade Collegiate Conference Men's Cross Country
Madison Sylvia Osterlund Thomas University (Ga.) The Sun Conference Women's Swimming and Diving
Ryan Tegtmeier Morningside College  (Iowa) Great Plains Athletic Conference Division II Men's Basketball
Kailey Williams Xavier University (La.) Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Women's Outdoor Track & Field
Ken Williams Oklahoma City University Sooner Athletic Conference Baseball
*Nominations for a representative of the sport Men’s Swimming and Diving and a representative to the Mid-South Conference had not been received at the time of this release.