Paulino Represented Ohio Athletic Conference at NCAA Meeting

Involved with Division III Legislation and Special Olympics Initiative

January 28, 2011

Cayleb Paulino is featured in the NCAA's video promoting Division III's partnership with Special Olympics in 2011 .

Cayleb Paulino is featured in the NCAA's video promoting Division III's partnership with Special Olympics in 2011 .

Many people know the NCAA simply as the entity that puts on March Madness and the big-time college football championships each year.

Wilmington College senior Cayleb Paulino has a much more intimate, “nuts and bolts” view of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. In January, he spent a week in San Antonio, Tex., at the NCAA’s annual meeting, where he was part of a delegation representing Division III.

Paulino is a four-year member of WC’s men’s soccer team and is majoring in wellness and health/physical education.

“You ultimately come to understand the NCAA’s purpose is to protect us as student-athletes,” he said, noting its charge is to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.

This rings especially true for Division III, which is comprised essentially of small schools that do not offer athletic scholarships. Indeed, each division embraces policies that best represent its distinct interests.

“We’re so unique in Division III because student-athletes often play more than one sport and they’re active in campus organizations,” he said.

One of the organizations Paulino joined at WC was SAAC, the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, which is a student-centered affiliate of the NCAA. This year, he serves as vice president.

Last spring, based upon his credentials and references, which were complemented by a written essay and telephone interview, he was selected to represent WC’s athletic affiliation, the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC), as well as the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC), at the National SAAC meeting in Indianapolis last July.

The NCAA invited him to follow-up that experience by returning to Indianapolis last November for meetings in preparation for the 2011 NCAA convention, at which he had the opportunity to see football great Bo Jackson and the legendary Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno.

In San Antonio, Paulino and representatives from the 109 conferences in Division III considered legislation and policy under review by the NCAA.

After 14 pieces of pending legislation were deemed as “controversial,” Paulino shared the issues with peers from the OAC and SLIAC after discussing position papers with fellow D-III representatives. In San Antonio, they determined SAAC’s position, which they shared with the NCAA’s ultimate decision-makers.

“You get your point across but learn not to take everything personally — you work together to have a position and back it up with facts,” he said. “It’s taught me a lot of how to be disciplined and able to think on your feet.”

Some of this year’s controversial Division III legislation dealt with sports wagering, fundraising and earmarking, the role of strength/conditioning coaches and the size of a team allowed on the bench in the NCAA Division III Championships.

“People might be surprised to learn that D-III has the NCAA’s highest percentage of gamblers,” he said. “A lot of D-III student-athletes have no idea they cannot participate in March Madness pools that require buy-ins.”

With regard to the bench size, they voted for unlimited bench size citing that the concept of a team exceeds the finite number of players whose travel expenses are covered by the NCAA.

“We felt the experience a student-athlete gets with his or her team’s run in the NCAA Championships outweighs any other considerations,” he said. “It’s often a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you want to share with all your teammates.”

Paulino is a member of the D-III Special Olympics SAAC Subcommittee, which this year is promoting that each D-III institution’s SAAC put on at least one local Special Olympics event. In 2010, Division III’s “Citizenship Initiative” raised $146,000 for Haitian earthquake relief.

Paulino is prominently featured in a promotional NCAA video highlighting the new partnership with Special Olympics that was played at the NCAA’s business session. (SEE VIDEO)

“It was a really cool experience interacting with the Special Olympics Committee,” he said. “It’s great that Special Olympians feel as much pride and joy from athletics as we do.”

Paulino, who will continue as a D-III representative for the next year, appreciates the confidence that those at Wilmington College and the NCAA have in him.

“I’m honored to have been selected to such a prestigious position in which I am playing a role in the future of the NCAA and Division-III student-athletes,” he said. “It’s very unique how the NCAA takes a group of young adults and asks them what they think can make such a big, important association better.”

He mentioned how the experience has facilitated his growth as a leader and as an individual, and “it’s opened my eyes” to someday working in athletics administration or even working in the NCAA.

A 2007 graduate of Sidney High School, Paulino is the son of Jeff and Lori Hurey, Carly Lane, Sidney. He played soccer and basketball for the Yellow Jackets.

Paulino served as captain of WC’s men’s soccer team as a junior and senior, and was voted by his teammates as the 2010 team’s most valuable player. He is a Dean’s List student and was selected for the 2009 and 2010 seasons as Academic All-Ohio Athletic Conference and Academic All-Ohio. Also, in 2010, he was named All-Academic East Region.

“As I’m now less than a year from graduating in December, I’m appreciating more and more all these tremendous opportunities I’ve had at Wilmington College.”