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Rick Nixon, NCAA.com | September 21, 2020

NCAA DI Women’s Basketball Student-Athlete Engagement Group formed

NCAA women's basketball players' voices will be amplified through Student-Athlete Engagement Group

NCAA Division I women’s basketball has announced the formation of an NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Student-Athlete Engagement Group that will serve as an amplifying voice for women’s basketball on key initiatives, legislation and various issues.

The group, which was formed in collaboration with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), is the first of its kind at the NCAA and will have a direct connection to the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and will also serve as a conduit of information from and to the WBCA.

“I think it’s an awesome opportunity, and I’m honored to represent not only CU but also the Pac-12,” said Aubrey Knight, a junior guard at Colorado. “It’s a great idea to create this group, especially in a time like this, because there are many questions and concerns different conferences and institutions have to worry about. So having this group allows for a place to talk about all of these issues and concerns.”

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The group consists of current NCAA Division I women’s basketball student-athletes from all 32 conferences who were nominated through the WBCA NCAA Division I Conference Captains program that includes a head coach or “captain” in each conference with whom the WBCA communicates regularly on important issues. Each captain submitted the name of a player from their team or conference who they believed would be a good representative for all women’s basketball players in their conference. The term of service for each student-athlete will coincide with athletics eligibility for competition. In addition, the two women’s basketball student-athlete representatives who serve on the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee, Zipporah (Zippy) Broughton of Rutgers and Liz Wood of Chattanooga, will also serve as ex officio members. The group will meet monthly via teleconference/videoconference.

“This is such an important time for us to provide a forum for women’s basketball student-athletes across the country to talk to one another and for us to listen,” said Lynn Holzman, vice president of women’s basketball at the NCAA. “In support of women’s basketball strategic plan, we will listen to what is important and happening with our student-athletes, and we will listen to their advice about the ongoing growth and development of our sport.”

“We see the engagement group as beneficial to student-athletes, coaches and the decision-makers who govern the sport,” said Danielle Donehew, executive director of the WBCA. “The student-athletes who play our game will now have the opportunity to share their perspectives on the many issues that affect them and the sport, particularly in these trying times. The coaches, the Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee, the national Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Division I Council, meanwhile, will have the benefit of hearing those perspectives from women’s basketball players across all of Division I. This new line of communication can only make our game stronger. We have a wonderfully diverse group of 32 young women who will represent their peers well.”

“I think this will allow people to feel like they have a voice in the decisions made about our sport specifically,” said Knight, who earned Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention in 2019. “Sometimes women’s basketball gets overshadowed by men’s basketball, but I think this group will help people understand they have a voice and an outlet to speak up. I think the goal is to hear directly from the student-athletes and allow them to talk about what is going well but also what isn’t. It allows all conferences to have a voice beyond even their institution or conference but with the NCAA.”

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Assisting with the group are NCAA staff liaisons Kelsey Gurganus (research), Sherika Montgomery (enforcement), Ta’Shia Phillips (academic and membership affairs) and Alyssa Rice (women’s basketball). All the liaisons are former Division I women’s basketball student-athletes.

“It is extremely important that the student-athlete voice is heard and taken into consideration during the decision-making process,” said Rice, who played at Kentucky. “These young women are living out their student-athlete experience under unique and challenging circumstances. It is imperative that they are given the opportunity to express their thoughts and concerns in effort of providing them with the best experience possible.”

“As liaisons, our top priority is to listen. We want to hear from our student-athletes directly,” said Montgomery, who played at Gardner-Webb and spent time in athletics administration at Winthrop, the Big South Conference and the Summit League before joining the NCAA. “While there are myriad topics currently impacting both intercollegiate athletics and specifically women’s basketball, it’s imperative for our women’s basketball student-athletes to have this opportunity. Who better to engage and advise on the student-athlete experience than student-athletes themselves? With student-athlete activism being at an all-time high, the timing is impeccable for an amplifying voice for the women’s basketball community.”

NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Engagement Group — 2020-21 Roster

Conference Student-Athlete Eligibility Year School
America East Conference Jordan McLemore Junior Hartford
American Athletic Conference Seraphine Bastin Junior Wichita St.
Atlantic 10 Conference Livija (Livy) Kaktaite Junior George Mason
Atlantic Coast Conference Mikayla Hayes Junior Clemson
Atlantic Sun Conference Alexis Pierce Senior Jacksonville
Big 12 Conference Madison Williams Junior Oklahoma
Big East Conference Rachael Saunders Junior Creighton
Big Sky Conference Daylani Ballena Freshman Southern Utah
Big South Conference Lauren McNamara-Clement Senior Campbell
Big Ten Conference Lauryn Satterwhite Junior Northwestern
Big West Conference Danae Miller Senior UC Santa Barbara
Colonial Athletic Association Ty Battle Junior Delaware
Conference USA Raizel Guinto Senior Louisiana Tech
Horizon League Maxine Moore Junior Detroit Mercy
Ivy League Christina DiCindio Senior Penn
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Emily LaPointe Sophomore Manhattan
Mid-American Conference Paulina Castro Senior Northern Ill.
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Amanda Carney Senior UMES
Missouri Valley Conference Alyssa Robben Senior Indiana St.
Mountain West Conference Brooke Walling Sophomore Fresno St.
Northeast Conference Adrianne Hagood Senior Sacred Heart
Ohio Valley Conference Taelour Pruitt Junior Southeast Mo. St.
Pac-12 Conference Aubrey Knight Junior Colorado
Patriot League Katlyn Ghavidel Junior Colgate
Southeastern Conference Shakira Austin Junior Ole Miss
Southern Conference Aja Boyd Senior UNC Greensboro
Southland Conference Anna Maguire Junior Houston Baptist
Southwestern Athletic Conference Armani Smith Junior Alabama St.
Summit League Kennedy Flanagan Sophomore Western Ill.
Sun Belt Conference Lauryn Thompson Junior Texas St.
West Coast Conference Sydney Hunter Senior San Diego
Western Athletic Conference Caitlyn Harper Sophomore California Baptist

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