The BSAA will organize and unify the voices of Black student-athletes and allies on campus
LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech Athletics announced Tuesday its student-athletes have formed the Black Student-Athlete Alliance (BSAA), which will operate under the umbrella of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
The BSAA has already elected an executive board of Texas Tech student-athletes, whose mission will be to “develop, coordinate and execute messaging, programming and continued commitment to the holistic experience of student-athletes of color.” The BSAA has petitioned to be an official on-campus organization through the Texas Tech Office of Campus Life.
“The Black Student-Athlete Alliance will be a tremendous addition to our athletics department,” Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt said. “I look forward to working with the BSAA to continue our conversation and programming focusing on the holistic experience for our student-athletes of color.”
The BSAA’s internal priorities will be to educate, empower and unify the voices of all student-athletes that attend its monthly meetings. Mike Davis, a former men’s basketball student-athlete at Towson University and now the assistant director for character and student-athlete development in the J.T. and Margaret Talkington Leadership Academy, has been tabbed the alliance’s advisor.
“It is inspiring to be able to lead, collaborate and learn from a group of student-athletes who have been committed to representing, embodying and carrying out a purpose that has historic imprints across this country and society,” Davis said. “They have a tremendous opportunity to build something that far exceeds their time as a student-athlete at Texas Tech and can leave an immeasurable legacy.
“An athletics department is full of many physical spaces, but being able to create a brave and safe space for our Black student-athletes and allies to engage in crucial conversations and learn from each other’s experiences and perspectives is paramount to the responsibility we have as an athletics department to Educate, Serve and Grow Fearless Champions.”
As part of its founding, the BSAA has already developed five call-to-action items: Reinforcing “all lives cannot matter until Black lives matter” and other racial and social justice issues; Creating ongoing required educational trainings and workshops focused on racial and social injustice issues; Making greater consideration in offseason scheduling for student-athletes; Promoting holistic support of student-athletes as more than athletes; and an overall commitment to East Lubbock and the local Lubbock community.
Texas Tech has formed the Committed to Change Committee that will be tasked with advancing the call to action items. The committee will be chaired by Destini Walker, an assistant director for career and student-athlete development in the leadership academy, and will include community partners and athletics department staff, including Hocutt.
“What we are doing is groundbreaking for Black Texas Tech student-athletes,” said D’Jenne Egharevba, a senior track and field athlete and the inaugural president of the BSAA. “Those student-athletes who came before us didn’t have a BSAA, so this is to guarantee that those who come after us will have a safe place, that they will have a collective voice and that they will have the energy and momentum to carry the organization. Serving as the inaugural President of the Black Student-Athlete Alliance is both a right and privilege. I am excited about the opportunity we have to trailblaze and be bridge builders within this department, university and community.”
Today’s announcement coincides with Texas Tech’s launch of a social-media campaign designed to highlight its student-athletes as “more than a student-athlete.” Texas Tech will also participate in the NCAA’s Diversity and Inclusion social media campaign that will run Tuesday through Thursday and will feature content spread throughout each of its social channels.
Below is a listing of the executive boards for both the Texas Tech Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Black Student-Athlete Alliance:
Texas Tech SAAC Executive Board
President: Heaven Burton (Softball)
Vice President: Audrey Tuttle (Volleyball)
Treasurer/Special Projects: D’Jenne Egharevba (Track & Field)
Secretary: Haley Harman (Volleyball)
Public Relations: Chelsey Cole (Track & Field)
Community Relations Chair: Patrick Curley (Football)
BSAA Executive Board
President: D’Jenne Eghareva (Track & Field)
Vice President: Heaven Burton (Softball)
Secretary: Yvonne Whaley (Softball)
Community Relations: Simone Watkins (Track and Field)
Campus Relations: Kayli Johnson (Track and Field)
Public Relations: Kiara Lester (Track and Field)
Education & Engagement: Noah Creighton (Track and Field)