SFU women’s basketball star Emma Kramer named chair of NCAA Division II SAAC

Kramer on elevating her leadership role off the basketball court in her senior season

photo of Emma Kramer during practice.
PHOTO: Ethan Cairns / SFU Athletics

By: Simran Sarai, Sports Writer

SFU women’s basketball standout Emma Kramer was named chair of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) in early January. 

The honour is just another accomplishment for the senior guard, who takes on the role as she prepares to both graduate and complete her collegiate basketball career later this spring. Kramer sat down with The Peak in the midst of her, now even busier, schedule to chat about her new role as chair and what the future holds for her.

The athlete from Surrey, BC has been involved in student athlete advocacy work long before her appointment to chair. She spent years on the SFU student athlete committee and as the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) representative to the NCAA Division II student-athlete committee. In the leadup to the election — which occurs annually in January at the NCAA conventionKramer received multiple nominations for the position of chair from her peers on the Division II committee.

“It was a little bit shocking, but I’m very happy and blessed to have that opportunity,” said Kramer.

Kramer embodied the hectic back-and-forth schedule of a student athlete on election day in San Antonio, Texas. While the voting period began, Kramer was jetting off to make it back in time for SFU’s next two home games. Her speech was pre-recorded and played to voting members. Kramer found out she beat out the other candidate in the airport, as she grappled with flight delays caused by a system outage.

“I had no idea I had won until I got text messages from people, who were like, ‘Can you answer your phone?’ And I was like, ‘No I can’t, I don’t have an American data plan — I’m in airplane mode!’”

In her new role as chair of the NCAA Division II student athlete council, Kramer will act as the leadership team’s spokesperson and media representative. She will represent all Division II NCAA student athletes, and holds voting rights which allow her to contribute to decisions on convention legislation. Additionally, she will facilitate the leadership teams’ meetings and ensure their goals for the year are met.

Kramer and her team will focus on three big high-priority areas identified by the student-athlete representatives making up the Division II committee. 

“Student-athlete mental health, which is a huge one; life after the game, so focusing on the transition from moving out of being a student athlete; and then diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

In addition to completing her studies in criminology and psychology, come late spring, Kramer will also be bidding farewell to SFU’s women’s basketball program. Kramer will continue to serve out the remainder of her NCAA Division II chair term and SFU student athlete committee president role until the end of 2023. 

Although one chapter of her life is drawing to a close, Kramer reflects on how the last few years of her work as a part of student athlete committees have created opportunities for her future. 

“One of my favourite parts of being on [the] national SAAC has been the connections I’ve made,” said Kramer. “It’s a great way to kind of get a foot in the door if I want to continue to work in athletics once I’m done.”