Thomas College student athlete Cassie Contigiani was elected by her peers to serve as an Associate Member of the NCAA Division III National Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). The vote occurred at the NAC SAAC Fall Retreat in November, and her service became effective at the conclusion of the 2019 NCAA Convention in January.
“I am extremely humbled and excited to begin this new chapter representing the NAC as an associate committee member for DIII National SAAC,” said Contigiani (pictured left). “It is motivating and an experience I am pleased to take on. Thank you to my NAC SAAC peers who helped me receive this opportunity. I can’t wait to see where this next chapter takes me and I look forward to what’s in store.”
Division III National SAAC is comprised of 22 members, each representing their own conference and a partner conference. Partner conferences, those without a full member on the National SAAC, now have additional opportunity to participate in the governance process following a vote at the 2018 NCAA Convention in which Division III members approved the expanded model. The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) is the partner conference to the NAC.
As Contigiani steps up, Nicole Monick, former women’s tennis student athlete at Northern Vermont-Johnson, rolls off the national committee. While the term of service is typically two years, Monick completed a three-year term as the representative for the NAC and the NEAC at the conclusion of the 2019 NCAA convention. Michael Litz, a tennis student athlete at Penn State Abington in the NEAC, will serve as a National SAAC member for a two-year term in conjunction with Contigiani’s service.
“My experience being a leader for the NAC SAAC has been amazing,” Monick reflected. “This whole experience has made me realize that leadership is important and very crucial to making things happen. People need to step up and it could be anyone, or it could be you. One thing I’ve learned being on this committee is that anything is possible and student athletes do have a voice. This opportunity has shown me that students can make change within their own campuses as well as their conferences with the right resources.” (Pictured right: NAC SAAC President Lexie Walker, NVU-Lyndon, with Monick and Litz)
“Nicole has done a fantastic job representing the NAC on the national level for three years, and we are very appreciative of the good work she has done.” remarked NAC Commissioner Marcella Zalot. “Cassie is an excellent choice in this role moving forward,” Zalot continued. “She has done a terrific job representing Thomas student athletes on the conference level and her peers recognized this in electing her to this national position. I am excited for this opportunity for her, and I am pleased that the conference will continue to be represented by such a quality leader.”
As a National SAAC Associate Member, Contigiani will be an active participant in the legislative process. She will attend National SAAC meetings in July and January, and participate in several conference calls during the year. One of the most important roles of all members of the National SAAC is to provide NCAA committee members and institutional leadership with student athlete perspective regarding all association business including legislative proposals, sport rules, and divisional governance.
Thomas College Director of Athletics Shanda Ness knows Cassie is up for the task. “Cassie has demonstrated strong leadership ability on our campus by serving as the president of SAAC, captain of the women’s soccer team and founder of our Special Olympics Club, and I am confident she will do an excellent job representing Thomas and the NAC at the national level as well.”
Originally from Belmont, New Hampshire, Contigiani (pictured left) has made her mark as a Terrier. She led the women’s soccer team to the top seed in the conference tournament and to the championship game this fall. She racked up 27 points this season with ten goals (6th/NAC) and seven assists (4th/NAC). She is the president of the Thomas College SAAC and vice president of the NAC SAAC. Additionally, she founded the Special Olympics Club at Thomas and is currently organizing the Second Annual Thomas College Unified Basketball Winter Jamboree. Contigiani is a Dean’s List senior majoring in sport management, and plans to enroll in the Thomas College MBA program and participate in her final year of soccer competition next fall.