INDIANAPOLIS – The Horizon League has established itself as a leader in the collegiate athletics landscape, from its creation of the industry-changing Horizon League Network to its best-in-class student-athlete development forum focused on mental and physical health. This academic year, the League again will lead the way with its implementation of a first-of-its-kind governance structure that provides student-athletes with a voice and a vote.
The Horizon League Board of Directors recently adopted the new governance framework that includes permanent representation for student-athletes on each of the league’s five standing cabinets and a seat on the Horizon League Council. The new governance structure provides a vote to student-athletes on all League issues. The new governance structure will take effect in early August.
“I look forward to seeing how well our new structure works. Our student-athletes have a voice and a vote. It’s a significant step. They will have a say in league matters at the decision-making level,” said Horizon League Commissioner Jon LeCrone. “Our job is to add value to the educational experience through athletics, and the addition of student-athletes to our governance structure is another example of that value proposition.”
The new governance structure creates operational efficiencies for League business and aligns with and actively supports the Horizon League strategic plan. The structure includes three decision-making levels: council, cabinet and advisory/peer groups.
Horizon League Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) members will be selected to fill cabinet positions with oversight of student-athlete development, competition, messaging, resources, and governance. Each cabinet is designed and organized based on the League’s strategic priorities. The cabinets’ responsibility will be to manage conference operations or initiatives in its area and recommend action to the Horizon League Council.
In addition to the five cabinet positions, the SAAC will be represented on the Horizon League Council by Youngstown State softball player Alexis Roach.
“We’re getting student-athletes’ opinions, we’re getting our teammates’ opinions. I think having student-athlete representation on the Council is going to be our wedge in the door,” said Roach. “I think the athletics directors are going to value what we have to say. I think the Horizon League is great for starting an initiative like this and being the first to do so.”
Roach also sees her position on the Council as a valuable addition to her education as well as her personal and professional development.
“It’s going to help me see a different side of things. It will help me see what the athletic director sees, what’s on their mind and what is at the forefront of their decision-making – and maybe give them a little bit of perspective about what student-athletes are thinking about every day. I think it’s going to be a two-way communication.”
Student-Athletes from six Horizon League institutions are slated to hold cabinet positions: