More than student-athletes

The National Collegiate Athletic Association recently celebrated their Diversity and Inclusion Week. In response, many schools across the country have shown support for their student-athletes.

The National Collegiate Athlete Association Office of Inclusion supports diversity and inclusion. Student-athletes have taken to social media with the hashtag #NCAAInclusion to showcase a variety of ethnicities, hobbies and more. Photo credit: Seawolf Athletics

Currently, the NCAA Office of Inclusion aids in programming and education when promoting and supporting the five main areas of inclusion: race and ethnicity, women, student-athletes with disabilities, LGBTQ and international athletes.

Brennan Rymer, a sophomore on the UAA basketball team, said that diversity and inclusion are an important component in sports.

“[Diversity and inclusion are] important because it provides us the opportunity to learn, respect and understand where other people have come through and the different ways that they may have been taught something,” said Rymer. “It provides us, as the athlete, to expand our knowledge.”

Some of the sports teams at UAA have been posting on social media with the hashtag #NCAAInclusion to show how diverse their players are. The responses include a variety of ethnicities, hobbies, majors, qualities and career paths that aren’t commonly associated with the term “student-athlete.”

Tony Naciuk is an alpine skier for the UAA ski team. He is from Alberta, Canada, double majoring in business and finance. Naciuk volunteers with the Special Olympics during their fall training program and builds mountain biking trails. Backcountry skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking and stocks are some of his other hobbies.

“Since one of my majors is finance, I’m also interested in the stock market,” said Naciuk. “And I’m in the investment club.”

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Hannah Rudd is a local farmer from Minnesota. She is currently a nordic skier for the UAA ski team and also volunteers with the Special Olympics during the fall.

“I don’t have animals or anything,” said Rudd. “I just have a big plot in my backyard and me and my roommates grow a ton of vegetables and fruits.”

When in Minnesota, Rudd would teach kids how to ski every Sunday for four hours. Rudd also enjoys camping, hiking and backpacking.

Basketball players started their first official day of practice this week in anticipation of the upcoming season starting the beginning of November. The ski teams have been training since the fall semester started. For all things sports, be sure to check out