SAAC members welcome players back to campus


Members of the Student Athlete Academic Committee welcome players from both NCAA and Student Life Sports back to campus.
Photo from Casey Finnell’s Twitter page


There was no game, match or even tournament, but the bleachers at Hyland Arena were packed with students on Thursday night. The crowd of nearly 1,700 had one common denominator: They are all Lindenwood student athletes.

For the first time in school history, NCAA teams and Student Life Sport participants were addressed under the same roof for the Student Athlete Academic Committee’s back-to-school social.  

SAAC representative Megan Hellwege said the main goal of the event was to welcome all athletes back to campus and encourage school spirit for the fall sports in particular.

“We have an unbelievable number of athletes on this campus, and we have been trying to unite the two [NCAA and SLS] to support each other and create a better atmosphere for our teams,” Hellwege said.

[perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=”Brad Wachler” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“For us it is not just about athletics It’s also about academically, it’s about socially … it’s about serving the community, and everything we are doing is competitive.”[/perfectpullquote]

The student athletes were addressed by members of the SAAC and Lindenwood athletic department, including the Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, Brad Wachler.

“For us it is not just about athletics,” Wachler said. “It’s also about academically, it’s about socially … it’s about serving the community, and everything we are doing is competitive.

Following Wachler’s remarks, there was, in true athletic fashion, competition between a representative of each fall sport. The individual athletes played a series of “minute-to-win-it” style games, where football and women’s rugby emerged victorious.

The students were then invited outside to Evans Commons lawn for carnival games, including a dunk tank. Wachler and head women’s volleyball coach Will Condon were the first of the staff members to take a dip.

“I think this was the best fall student-athlete meeting yet because of the carnival afterwards,” Hellwege said. “The SAAC executive board spent a lot of time organizing it to be focused on socializing, playing games and solidifying that bond between all sports.”

At the end of the night, athletes were given yellow T-shirts with the hashtag “Lions Support Lions” printed on the back.  It was a phrase initiated last year at the meeting with the goal of bringing teams together. Hellwege said this event could lead to greater crowds at competitions throughout the year.

“I think overall we achieved what we wanted to do,” she said. “[Athletes] saw how much fun it is when we come and support each other.”