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By David Pickle
The Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is continuing to make wishes come true by involving one school at a time.
Improving on its already stellar support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Division II SAAC oversaw the collection in the 2009-10 academic year of $407,638 – by far the most money collected in a single year.
The Division II SAAC has been raising money for Make-A-Wish since 2003-04, when it collected $49,957. Since then, funds raised have grown annually, and the total contribution to Make-A-Wish now exceeds $1.5 million.
Ann Martin, athletics director at Regis (Colorado) and the Management Council liaison for the SAAC, said the money is raised without much consideration of the total.
“They always set their goal at $100,000 just because they don’t want to put too much stress on their fellow student-athletes,” Martin said. “They set it low, but they have high expectations that everybody will at least participate. So they’re more interested in having everybody pitch in and do their part, which is what makes a national effort so special. It’s something that everybody can have their hands on.”
With student-athletes, institutions and conferences all working together, Martin said a high number becomes almost automatic, assuming that the national SAAC works hard to provide the organization.
And hard work is never a problem.
“If they’re not talking about legislation, they’re talking about Make-A-Wish because it’s something they’re so proud of,” Martin said. “We have made it part of the Division II identity, and it’s something the student-athletes continue to be proud of, every year.”
Management Council chair Kathleen Brasfield, athletics director at Angelo State, said the student-athletes are leading Division II by example.
“It’s amazing what student-athletes can do when they put their minds to it,” she said. “To make the commitment that they’ve made – we should all be ashamed of ourselves that we don’t step in as they’ve stepped in.
“But I’m very excited about it. They have fun with it, and they’ve got everybody to buy in.”