LGBT SportSafe Announces Inaugural SAAC Challenge Winners





LGBT SportSafe Announces Inaugural SAAC Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the inaugural SAAC Challenge, UCLA and Fayetteville State University! UCLA received over 1,000 votes to claim the LGBT SportSafe SAAC Challenge Division I title, while Fayetteville State received almost 500 votes to win the Division II/III title. Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representatives from 20 institutions participated in the inaugural LGBT SportSafe SAAC Challenge to address the importance of inclusion in college athletics and why they are proud to be LGBT SportSafe. The videos gained traction around the globe, as student-athletes led the charge for change.

“I am so proud and excited that UCLA won the LGBT SportSafe SAAC Challenge this year! We work very hard to foster a safe and inclusive environment within our close-knit athletics family here in Westwood,” said Katie Grover, a member of the swimming & diving team and Bruin Ambassador at UCLA. “The SAAC Challenge is a great way to get other schools across the country involved in this important movement!”

In the spirit of friendly competition, participating institutions challenged a total of 47 rival institutions to join the SAAC Challenge. Rival schools must first qualify for the LGBT SportSafe Inclusion Program prior to joining the SAAC Challenge to show a commitment to improving the culture of athletics. Schools that meet SAAC Challenge guidelines will be invited to participate in the Fall 2018 cohort.

Thousands of votes were cast from over 20 different countries to determine the winners of the inaugural SAAC Challenge. Participating schools were divided into two categories, Division I and Division II/III . The institutions receiving the most votes in each division won the SAAC Challenge. University of Massachusetts Lowell, received the second highest number of votes in the Division I category, while Winston-Salem State University came in second place for Division II/III.

“Now, more than ever, we must do everything in our power to block any blow to undermine equality for all Americans. Winning the LGBT SportSafe SAAC Video Challenge makes me proud to be a part of an institution with SAAC students who are serious about their commitment to becoming a leading HBCU in promoting diversity and inclusion for all,” said Dr. LaWanda D. Miller, Senior Woman Administrator at Fayetteville State. “Leading the charge to defend and protect the rights of the LGBT community means that we are all winning.”

Ric Coy, Director of Student-Athlete Development at UCLA said, “At UCLA our motto is ‘Champions Made Here’ and that goes for everything we do. Being champions of inclusion is important to our administrators, coaches and student-athletes because we want to provide a safe environment for everyone to achieve success. Being a part of the LGBT SportSafe SAAC Challenge shows just how committed we are to ensuring all members of the UCLA Athletics community are valued and respected. I am beyond proud that we won because it was truly an all-around Bruin effort.”

Congratulations to the LGBT SportSafe SAAC Challenge winners and each of the participating institutions! The SAAC Challenge was successful because of your commitment to making sport culture inclusive and safe for all student-athletes.

The LGBT SportSafe Inclusion Program was founded to create an infrastructure for athletic leadership to support LGBTQ inclusion in college and professional sports. LGBT SportSafe launched in partnership with University of Oregon, Northwestern University and University of Nebraska, using a new framework, the 3-Peat Model, to help administration champion a culture of respect and inclusion.



Dr. Eric Lueshen,

Nevin Caple,


LGBT SportSafe SAAC Challenge Website:

Follow us on social media: @LGBTSportSafe + #WeAreLGBTSportSafe


LGBT SportSafe Spring 2018 Inaugural Cohort


Binghamton University

Bowie State University

DePauw University

Fayetteville State University

Northwestern University

Pace University

Shaw University

Soka University

Stony Brook University


UMass Lowell



University of Albany

University of California, Berkeley

University of Hartford

University of Nebraska

University of Oregon

University of Vermont

Winston-Salem State University