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MNU Athlete Chosen for New NAIA Council

New group would provide a voice for NAIA student-athletes

OLATHE, KANSAS—MNU student Taylor Cowan has been named to the NAIA’s proposed Association of Student-Athletes (ASA), a new group to be added to the NAIA governance structure if approved at the annual convention in April. Cowan is a sophomore nursing major and will represent her sport, volleyball.

ASA would be the association’s first governance group made up entirely of students and function as the advocacy arm of the student-athlete collective. The ASA will include at least one representative from every conference, including the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.), and every NAIA championship sport.

“The ASA will allow student-athletes to have an input on the issues that directly impact them every day,” Kent Paulson, Chair of the Conference Commissioners Association and Frontier Conference Commissioner, said. “This group will have the unique opportunity to discuss matters most important to them on the NAIA’s biggest stage.”

Members of the proposed ASA were selected from a pool of nominees forwarded to the National Office by each conference and the A.I.I. MNU Volleyball Head Coach Kristin Steele says Cowan is one of MNU’s brightest student athletes. She was selected Freshman of the Year in MNU’s athletic conference (HAAC) and has competed against many of the top volleyball programs in the country.

“Taylor knows what it is like to balance school and play at a high level,” Steele says. “This, I believe, makes her an exceptional candidate for this panel. She was chosen out of an applicant pool of hundreds of other quality student athletes, which should make MNU and Pioneer Athletics proud.”

2015-2016 Members of the proposed ASA*

Student Name

University Name

Athletic League

Student Sport

Jordan Annis

Bethel College (Ind.)

Crossroads League

Men's Indoor Track and Field

Ryan Armstrong

Carroll College (Mont.)

Frontier Conference


Vashni Balleste

Xavier University (La.)

Gulf Coast Athletic Conference

Women's Tennis

Hope Biggs

William Carey University (Miss.)

Southern States Athletic Conference

Women's Golf

Austin Blaue

Ottawa University (Kan.)

Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference

Men's Golf

Sidney Bosley

Concordia University (Mich.)

Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference

Women's Indoor Track and Field

Sam Buczek

Central Baptist College (Ark.)

Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference


Connor Clements

Georgia Gwinnett College

Association of Independent Institutions

Men's Tennis

Taylor Cowan

MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.)

Heart of America Athletic Conference


Courtney Dixon

Valley City State University (N.D.)

North Star Athletic Association

Division II Women's Basketball

Sammantha Fajardo

University of California - Merced

California Pacific Conference

Women's Cross Country

Bailee Fritts

Kansas Wesleyan University

Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference


BJ Groskreutz

Northwestern College (Iowa)

Great Plains Athletic Conference


Sara Hall

SCAD-Savannah (Ga.)

The Sun Conference

Women's Soccer

Brett Hodges

William Woods University (Mo.)

American Midwest Conference

Men's Soccer

Tevin Hopkins

University of St. Francis (Ill.)

Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference

Men's Outdoor Track and Field

Luke Kadillak

Vanguard University (Calif.)

Golden State Athletic Conference

Men's Soccer

Che'ron Lewis

Langston University (Okla.)

Red River Athletic Conference

Division I Women's Basketball

Tyler Lucas

Indiana University Kokomo

Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Men's Cross Country

Laura Rose Pickens

Truett-McConnell College (Ga.)

Appalachian Athletic Conference

Women's Golf

Billy Pryor

Ave Maria University (Fla.)

The Sun Conference


Elizabeth Rodriguez

Our Lady of the Lake University (Texas)

Red River Athletic Conference


Chad Smurthwaite

Warner Pacific College (Ore.)

Cascade Collegiate Conference

Men's Cross Country

Madison Sylvia Osterlund

Thomas University (Ga.)

The Sun Conference

Women's Swimming and Diving

*Nominations for a representative of the sport Men’s Swimming and Diving and a representative to the Mid-South Conference had not been received at the time of this release.

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