In 2016 the Southeastern Conference and commissioner Greg Sankey announced a new initiative. Sankey created the Southeastern Conference Student-Athlete Leadership Councils and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). The idea is to allow student-athletes to have a bigger say in programming on their respective campuses. The meetings will be held in Birmingham, Alabama beginning Friday.

A total of 69 student-athletes, including 28 SAAC representatives from all 14 SEC institutions will participate, including five Florida Gators. Martez Ivey (football), Kevarrius Hayes (basketball), Courtney Douglas (soccer), Harry Glasser (track & field) and Haley Lorenzen (women’s basketball).

The councils serve as a conduit of communication to the conference office on issues related to student-athlete experience and student-athlete wellness. The groups also provide feedback on proposed rules governing the SEC and NCAA.

Friday the student-athletes will participate in a presentation by Josh Foliart of the company “Growing Leaders.” They will also have an opportunity to present ideas that could benefit the lives of student-athletes on their campuses.

Saturday the representatives will meet with Commissioner Sankey, who will lead a conversation entailing topics brought up by the student-athletes. Following that the student-athletes will participate in community service projects at the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama and the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. The Community Food Bank operates as a central clearinghouse for collecting food, and it serves 12 counties in Alabama. Hope Lodge offers free lodging to cancer patients and their families, and it also provides a variety of resources and information about cancer and how best to fight the disease.

The three-day meeting concludes Sunday where there will be an emphasis on career development. SEC Director of Student-Athlete Engagement Misty Brown and Jametta K. White will address the SAAC.

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC