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UAA Named Recipient of August 2023 Division III Diversity Spotlight Initiative For SAAC Meeting

UAA Named Recipient of August 2023 Division III Diversity Spotlight Initiative For SAAC Meeting

The University Athletic Association was named the NCAA Division III Diversity Spotlight Initiative winner for August.The initiative recognizes and promotes outstanding diversity related projects, programming and initiatives that are occurring on Division III campuses and in conference offices.

During the UAA SAAC meeting at Washington University in early August, the Association brought in You Can Play Project Chief Operating Officer Kurt Weaver to speak about inclusion on multiple fronts, particularly as it relates to LGBTQ+ student-athletes and issues. After the workshop, each school’s representatives strategized on what they wanted their messaging about inclusion to be. Each school made a video with their take on “You Can Play in the UAA.” The concept was originally brought forward by WashU Director of Athletic Communications Bridget McCann.

"The 'You Can Play' campaign aligns perfectly with the UAA's 'Strive Together' message of inclusivity. In the UAA, we are committed to providing a welcoming and accepting environment no matter what your background or identity and these videos serve as another step in the DEI work that the UAA has already begun," McCann articulated. "It was a pleasure to work with the UAA's fantastic student-athletes to craft these messages. If you can play, you can play in the UAA!"

“The 2023 UAA SAAC Meeting served as a reminder to me of the incredible leaders and people that make up our conference, and the commitment we all share to continue improving the student-athlete experience within the UAA. During our session on Saturday, we acknowledged that change is created by consistently taking the small steps that are necessary," affirmed WashU SAAC co-president and men's basketball student-athlete Jabari Chiphe. I'm excited to see all the steps we take as individuals and as a conference to bring tangible change for the betterment of the UAA.”

UAA SAAC Meeting: Student-Athletes Strive Together for Inclusion

The Diversity Spotlight Initiative recognizes and promotes outstanding diversity development projects, programming and initiatives occurring on Division III campuses and in conference offices. Each month, an institution or conference is identified by the selection committee to be featured on the DIII webpage and in the DIII Monthly Update. In addition, the featured institution or conference office receives $500 toward its next diversity initiative. Click here for more information.

As a core value, the NCAA believes in and is committed to diversity, inclusion and gender equity among its student-athletes, coaches and administrators. We seek to establish and maintain an inclusive culture that fosters equitable participation for student-athletes and career opportunities for coaches and administrators from diverse backgrounds. Diversity and inclusion improve the learning environment for all student-athletes and enhance excellence.  

In January 2016, the NCAA Board of Governors unanimously approved a resolution to further the Association’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. The resolution calls upon university chancellors and presidents to promote cultural diversity and provide the necessary resources to address it on their campuses.  The board also announced the creation of a new ad hoc diversity and equity committee to monitor and report on the Association’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.  The ad hoc committee encourages all presidents and chancellors at NCAA member colleges and universities to sign the NCAA Presidential Pledge that commits their schools to achieving ethnic and racial diversity and gender equity in college sports hiring practices.  The pledge was developed out of a membership concern for the low representation of racial and ethnic minorities and women in coaching and athletics administration at all levels.

Division III, in partnership with the NCAA’s Office of Inclusion, provides educational resources, initiatives and programming, which enhances the foundations of a diverse and inclusive culture.  Inclusion continues to be an important aspect of intercollegiate athletics, and the Division III governance structure collaborates with its 450 member institutions and 42 conference offices to support their diversity and inclusion goals.

At the 2015 NCAA Convention, the Division III delegates endorsed the creation of a Diversity and Inclusion Working Group.  The working group’s charge is to assess the current diversity and inclusion landscape within Division III, evaluate current initiatives, and propose next steps (e.g., resources, new initiatives, policies, etc.) to the membership.