NCU Student Named to NCAA Committee

In a career of historic accomplishments, Elissa Pheneger will add another title to her list of honors. The junior volleyball captain has been selected by the NCAA to serve a two year term on the association’s Division III National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association notified Elissa Pheneger (Roseville, Minn./Concordia Academy) that the junior volleyball student-athlete had been selected to serve on the NCAA National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). The national SAAC is a 23 member group comprised of student-athletes of both genders from a wide variety of sports representing 43 collegiate athletic conferences from across NCAA Division III.

Each of the 450 NCAA Division III institutions across the nation are required to have a student athlete advisory group. Each campus SAAC group is made up of student-athletes assembled to provide insight on the student-athlete experience and offer input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes’ lives on campus. Elissa Pheneger is the current North Central SAAC president and will now represent her fellow NCU athletes as well as those of the Upper Midwest Athletic (UMAC) and Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic (MIAC) conferences on the national level.

The National SAAC group represents the voice of over 190,000 student athletes across the country who participate in NCAA Division III athletics annually. Division III athletes represent nearly 40 percent of all NCAA athletes across the association’s three divisions. Pheneger was chosen as the representative of the UMAC and MIAC where over 5200 student athletes participate in 22 conference sponsored intercollegiate sports each year.

“The UMAC is excited to have Elissa in this position and to represent our conference at the national level. She will do a great job advocating for the student-athletes in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference and the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference while contributing to the national NCAA Division III SAAC efforts.” Stated UMAC Commissioner Corey Borchardt.

The last two years, Dominec Fraboni, a football student athlete from Concordia College-Moorhead (Moorhead, Minn.), was the rep for the two leagues who take turns sending athletes to fill their spot on the national committee. Pheneger will be the first NCU athlete to represent over 2250 student athletes from the UMAC, as well as their counterparts from the MIAC, in a national NCAA committee.

North Central head volleyball coach Stephanie Schmidt believes that Pheneger is great person to fill the role. “Elissa is an exemplary student-athlete and models the values of Division III. She is the quintessential spokesperson for her fellow student-athletes and I am proud to have her represent our SAAC at the national level.”

Pheneger’s two year term will begin at the close of the 2016 NCAA National Convention in January and will conclude following the 2018 national convention. The junior elementary education major will be part of a group of 11 new committee members coming in to take the place of the current representatives whose term will expire in January.

The National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee represents the student-athlete voice in the Division III governance structure by reviewing legislation; identifying significant student-athlete issues; implementing national student-athlete based initiatives; encouraging community outreach; and enhancing student-athlete involvement in and understanding of the division in general.

The SAAC is also primarily responsible for maintaining and coordinating the division’s nationwide partnership with Special Olympics. The committee meets in-person four times each year in January, April, July and November.

Last fall Pheneger became the first player in NCU Volleyball history to surpass 2000 career assists and 800 career digs. She is just the second player in program history to notch 2000 assists and with one more season of eligibility remaining in 2016, is on track to surpass the career record of 2473.

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