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Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
Meaghan McCloskey (center) at the NCAA Convention in January.
McCloskey's whirlwind week
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 02/11/2013
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By Allison Wagner (Idaho Athletics Media Relations Intern)

Most senior nights are filled with the pure emotion of the last performance with your team, but for University of Idaho senior swimmer, Meaghan McCloskey, her night was filled with a little more.

McCloskey served as the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) representative for Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) at the NCAA convention on Jan. 16-17, flew back to Moscow on Thursday night and the next day, Friday, Jan. 18, swam one of her best dual meets and aided the Idaho swim and dive team in defeating New Mexico State on Senior Night in her final home meet as a Vandal.

“My mind was everywhere,” McCloskey said of hours leading up to the meet. “I was worried about how I was going to do, but being back with the team gave me extra energy and the emotion of Senior Night made it work.”

She swam legs on both Idaho’s relays at the meet and also finished sixth in the 100-yard butterfly and seventh in the 200-yard fly.

McCloskey’s involvement in SAAC started innocently enough. She subbed for a teammate at a meeting her freshman year, not knowing entirely what the group did.

“I was the quietest person as a freshman,” McCloskey said. “I wasn’t really involved in high school and I planned to just come in here as a freshman and keep a low profile.”

Change of plans. As a sophomore, she became very involved in Idaho SAAC and toward the end of the year, moved on to WAC SAAC organization.

At the end of her junior year, she applied to be a WAC representative at the national SAAC meeting and was chosen by an administration team made up of student-athletes. As the representative, she attends three in-person meetings a year, with the January meeting running in conjunction with the NCAA convention.

Each level of SAAC functions differently. National SAAC helps to define the student-athlete image and make it well-known, as well as allowing the student-athletes to provide feedback on legislation. WAC SAAC helps student-athletes discuss issues at the conference level and provide input on the league’s championship structure and governance. This year, the WAC is focusing on a community service initiative entitled “Dedicate to Educate,” to promote class work and the importance on school, especially for athletes. Idaho SAAC’s primary goals are building student-athlete community involvement and bringing teams together to support one another.

SAAC began in 1989, when it was adopted at the NCAA convention. The purpose was to ensure that student-athletes had a voice in the diverse group of female and male student-athletes at all NCAA member institutions. In August 1997, when the NCAA formed three divisions, it caused SAAC to expand to three representing divisions.

McCloskey was selected as the media chair for National SAAC. She’s in charge of not only the Twitter pages for Idaho and WAC SAAC, but also the National SAAC Twitter page, and works to help develop communications plans for the organization. As a marketing major, she said this has helped her realize how to market and sell something and has given her invaluable experience in the profession.

“I am hoping to get into sports marketing,” McCloskey said. “The one thing everyone has always told me is to get experience.”

McCloskey has been very involved not only within the campus at the University of Idaho as an intern for the athletics marketing department, as well as an intern position with a minor league baseball team.

While McCloskey was at the NCAA convention in January, she said she attended meetings from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.  As a representative, she was able to give her feedback on all the different rules the NCAA legislation up for votes.

“Of the 25 rules that got passed, we had our input on all of them, and just knowing that everyone values our opinion is something that is really cool,” McCloskey said.

McCloskey says as a freshman she never would have seen herself attending NCAA conventions, but she wouldn’t change it for anything. She said he was quiet and introverted in her first season at Idaho, but that her involvement with the group has helped develop her into a leader and helped define her career path.

“After I subbed at the first SAAC meeting my whole world was turned around and it made me realize what I wanted to do,” McCloskey said. “I definitely would never have seen myself doing anything like this. It’s amazing.”
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