At Harvard-Westlake, we have more students who wish to be members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) than we are able to select to participate. The cornerstone for making certain that any SAAC Selection Process is fair is that everyone understands how it works.
We have prepared this written SAAC Selection Process in order for you to understand the process by which a student can and will be selected – or not – for the SAAC. It has been formulated by us, the athletic directors, and will be implemented by us. However, it has been peer reviewed by administrators and approved by the Head of School.
Although SAAC selections are inherently subjective, they must not be arbitrary. This Selection Process identifies the criteria by which a candidate for the SAAC will be evaluated and is intended to generate the meaningful information we need about the candidates so that we can make the best selections possible and they each have a fair and full opportunity to be selected. If a candidate is not selected, then we stand prepared to explain the basis for our decision.
Each candidate will be evaluated in the following categories:
- Athletic Team Membership
- Leadership Skills
- Community Involvement
We will use these categories to identify and select candidates who will best satisfy our council goals of (1) creating the most competent and effective council now and in the future, and (2) providing the most meaningful leadership experience possible for everyone involved.
Each candidate must be able and willing to play a role for the benefit of the SAAC. Sometimes these roles are expansive, sometimes very specialized. Extremely rare is the candidate who excels in all four of these evaluation categories. Different positions on the SAAC, regardless of grade level, will require strength in different categories.
We are going to generate the information about the candidates that is necessary for us to make our selections from three sources.
Applications: We will distribute applications in May for selection to the SAAC for the following school year. Students will receive further information about the exact due dates of the application. Candidates have between 2-3 weeks to complete the application, have it signed by the appropriate administrators and turn it in. In any given year, we can have between 20-40 students apply for 12 positions. Although any student-athlete may fill out an application, we may eliminate a candidate before the final selections are made. Let us spend a moment, though, on the import of the application. Impending finals, illness, and other short-term factors can affect a candidate’s performance on the application. And there is much that the short and artificial crucible of an application cannot reveal about a candidate. Further, as athletic directors, we will and do know much about many of the candidates before the applications are completed. Basing or claiming to base any selection solely on an application is not only impossible, but rife with the potential for actual or perceived unfairness or mistakes. Thus, we are acknowledging the limitations of the application and committing ourselves to the additional work necessary to give us the additional information we may need so as to provide a candidate a fair and full opportunity to be selected.
Administrator and Coach Evaluations: We may discuss candidates for the SAAC with their coaches and, sometimes, other administrators. Although our ultimate selections may not comport with the specific advice or recommendation of a particular coach or administrator, we do believe that this input can be important and valuable, and we will take it into consideration when necessary in order to make a fair and complete selection. Our student-athlete leadership program here at Harvard-Westlake is predicated on the close working relationships we have with coaches and administrators not only in this instance, but in other aspects of student leadership as well.
Athletic Director Observations: We strive to get to know as many student-athletes as possible at Harvard-Westlake. We monitor practices, attend games and observe student-athletes as they interact with teammates, coaches and administrators. Further, we have the opportunity to observe students as they serve in other capacities of student leadership at Harvard-Westlake. Although we obviously cannot observe every candidate equally or sometimes at all, we do believe that this information can be important and valuable, and we will take it into consideration when necessary in order to make a fair and complete selection.