INDIANAPOLIS – For the eighth year, the NCAA is inviting more than 230 current student-athletes, NCAA scholarship and grant recipients, all with an interest in working within the sports industry, to the Career in Sports Forum in Indianapolis June 1-4. Three Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference student-athletes have been selected including: senior Tiareh Cruz from Occidental, senior Alison Smith from Redlands and junior Lacey Bjorndal also from Redlands.
Cruz a volleyball player from Occidental totaled 1,399 assists in 83 matches and 250 sets for the Tigers. She has also been the Oxy Female Strength and Conditioning Female Athlete of the Year and Oxy Volleyball's ACE award winner for attitude, concentration and effort. Off the court, Cruz has been the leader of Oxy's student-athlete advisory committee and was selected to attend the 2017 NCAA Division III Immersion program in January.
Smith recently captured the National Championship in the 100 Hurdles with a time of 13.98. She is the first Bulldog to win this event since Margo Edwards, who captured back-to-back titles in 1984 and 1985. Smith is the first women's national champion for Redlands since Natalie Calderon won the Long Jump and Triple Jump Championships in 2008.
Bjorndal earned her first all-conference nod this year as she snagged 31 draw controls to lead the Bulldogs in conference games. She also uncorked 21 goals, including 10 successful free-position shots, for a shooting percentage of 53.8%. Finally, this team captain registered 15 ground balls and three caused turnovers.
Participants who expressed an interest in pursuing a career in sports, and who were viewed as leaders on their campus, were invited to apply to attend the forum after a nomination by athletics administrators at their respective schools. Many current and past attendees are members of their Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the student-athlete voice within the NCAA governance structure. The selection committee is comprised of administrators and coaches within the NCAA, many former forum participants themselves.
“Supporting NCAA student-athlete leaders with their education is a key goal for the Association,” said Bernard Franklin, NCAA executive vice president of education and community engagement and chief inclusion officer. “Our Career in Sports Forum puts student-athletes, postgraduate scholarship recipients in a non-traditional academic setting where they can learn directly from successful leaders, which can have a positive impact on their future after graduation.”
One of more than 45 annual conferences and seminars organized and directed by the NCAA leadership development department, the Career in Sports Forum provides college athletes with a broader scope of the career tracks available within the sports business, with the primary focus on college athletics. The forum provides student-athletes interactive experiences with successful individuals in the sports business and a peek into their day-to-day duties and responsibilities.
Forum attendees, with representation from 73 conferences, will hear from various keynote speakers and panelists, highlighted by Stevie Baker-Watson, associate vice president and director of athletics at DePauw University; Jason Burton, head women’s basketball coach at the Texas A&M University-Commerce; Clyde Doughty Jr, director of athletics at Bowie State University; Oliver Luck, NCAA executive vice president of regulatory affairs; Felicia Martin, vice president of the NCAA Eligibility Center; and Craig McPhail, director of athletics at Lees-McRae College. The participants also learn best practices for gaining employment and gathering a better understanding of what future expectations will be once they get a job in sports.
The NCAA leadership development department provides professional and personal development for the entire Association, including student-athletes, coaches and administrators, through accessible resources, strategic partnerships and annual customized programming at little or no cost to the membership. For more information, please go to ncaa.org/leadershipdevelopment.
Search #LearnLead to follow the social conversation and events at the 2017 Career in Sports Forum, as well as all NCAA leadership development programs.