The MIAC staff just returned from sunny San Diego, Calif., which was the site of the 2014 NCAA Convention. Each will share their thoughts from a great week of learning, networking and fun. MIAC Executive Director Dan McKane led off, and MIAC Assistant Executive Director Matt Higgins will finish off the series later this week. Today MIAC Assistant Director Megan Gaard shares her experiences from her first convention.
2014 NCAA Convention Recap
By Megan Gaard
By Megan Gaard
|Megan Gaard and Dan McKane at a MIAC staff lunch|
at The Fish Market in San Diego, overlooking the harbor.
As a first-year attendee at the NCAA Convention, I really had no idea what it was going to be like going into it. Being a young professional in this field, the goals of my first experience were geared towards soaking in as much information as I could and networking with other interns, coaches and athletic administrators. It was a busy week was filled with a wide range of meetings and informational sessions varying from Personal Health and Wellness to Campus Emergency Plans to Social Media Strategies. There was something for everyone's interests and needs.
The three sessions that stood out for me were the NCAA Keynote Luncheon with Jim Nantz, NCAA Honors Celebration and NCAA Division III Issues Forum & Business Session.
On the first day of Convention, the NCAA hosted a Keynote Luncheon with CBS Sports anchor, Jim Nantz. Jim gave a captivating speech about his lifelong dream to be a sports anchor for CBS Sports. He believes his experience as a student-athlete, support from coaches and willingness to dream big propelled him to success. Overall, I felt he was a relevant and engaging presenter with a good message that supported the NCAA.
This luncheon was also an initial opportunity for me to break into the networking scene. I sat at a table with two Athletic Directors from different divisions, a few student-athletes representing NCAA National SAAC and another intern that holds my position at another conference office. This gave me the opportunity to make connections with representatives on other campuses, learn more about job opportunities in the athletics field, hear about new initiatives and discover challenges other athletic programs face.
Later on in the week, I attended the NCAA Honors Celebration which recognized current and former student-athletes for their achievements in their sport, work in the classroom and their contributions to society. Some of the honorees included: Troy Aikman and Olympians Dara Torres and Billy Mills. The event included a formal dinner, award ceremony and in-person interviews with the honorees. It was a special event and I was happy to see how athletics can be such a positive influence in the community.
|NCAA President Mark Emmert addresses Division III|
at Saturday morning's Business Session.
The entire trip came together for me at the end of the week when I sat in on the Division III Issues Forum and Business Session. It was at that moment I fully understood how the process of NCAA legislation worked. The opportunity to discuss all of the proposals with people outside the MIAC gave me a better understanding of the national perspective and, because of some of the discussions I had, some of my opinions changed. Being a former student-athlete, it was exciting to be a part of the administrative side of athletics for the first time.
I look forward to attending the convention again next year with a better understanding of what I can expect from the event.