Early results can be prime predictors for the future, as can learning from others and our history. Also, just reading plain print is also a pretty good idea. Back in April, the newly minted Student Advisory Committee met for the first time, with their first actions and agenda happening in their second meeting on May 26th, which were related to OSAA training videos in regard to discrimination, unsportsmanlike behavior, and intervention during events. In the meeting, the OSAA established the content topics and subsequently led the meeting with solicited input from the students on the committee. As advertised, the students on the committee are “advisors” to the OSAA on topics. However, what is lacking between this committee and the rest of the OSAA committees is obvious: Lack of real influence or power.
If a neutral party were to read that the OSAA is creating a student advisory committee to represent student-athletes, one would reasonably assume that the students not only advised or gave input on topics, but they would have a level of influence or power in final decision-making involving the executive board. Whether it be it a student elected to the board or a representative for the students, someone that shows for them and has the ability to have influence in final decisions. Instead, the committee appears to be as powerless as their name says, and ultimately a smoke screen ploy on the part of the OSAA to appease calls for student-athlete representation.
The warning signs and red flags are abundant from the get-go: The OSAA is setting the agenda for the students to discuss, along with leading the discussion instead of having a student being chosen by their fellow members as the “chair” or “leader” of the committee. Furthermore, the briefing from their second meeting states, “The OSAA staff will follow up with the OASC on their upcoming meeting and ways in which we can partner to get the messaging out to student sections across
the state,” discussing the issues of discrimination and unsportsmanlike behavior. Instead of the students setting the agenda or meeting aside from the OSAA, it is a fully controlled OSAA smoke screen that doesn’t give them any real power or decision-making ability.
Just like the school districts that they govern, the OSAA has kept students and athletes in merely advisory or opinionated roles instead of giving them any real decision-making power, making this new committee nothing more than a smoke screen of appeasement to dodge criticism. Instead of letting athletes establish their own agendas of discussion, the OSAA is running the show and simply soliciting opinions, suppressing the power and potential that the students could have to bring real changes to the OSAA. They would never likely let them have any influence over issues like league alignments, Title IX, and other direct issues that affect them every day. Just enough to calm the flames, but not enough to actually give them any power to make significant changes in the OSAA or the schools they govern. The one question I have for the OSAA is: Why are they so afraid to give students a seat at the voting table instead of keeping them in the opinionated role?