Kansas Athletics Participates in Transformative Black Student-Athlete Summit in Los Angeles

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas Athletics and KU Leads was represented by 10 Kansas Jayhawk student-athletes and six staff members at the 2024 Black Student-Athlete Summit, hosted by the University of Southern California in Los Angeles from May 22-26.

The summit, dedicated to the holistic development of Black student-athletes, provided a unique platform for participants to connect, learn, and grow both personally and professionally.

The student-athletes from Kansas included, Angelina Arinze (Women’s Track and Field), George Jackson (Men’s Track and Field), Jordan Campbell (Men’s Track and Field), Kenean Caldwell (Football), Caleb Taylor (Football), DJ Withers (Football), Assa Kante (Soccer), Saige Wimes (Soccer), Kylin Sadler (Tennis), and Anna Soles (Softball).

In addition, Kansas Athletics staff were able to attend including, Brian Gray (Director of Creative Content), Chris Hughes (Inclusive Excellence Specialist), Brittany Franklin (Student-Athlete Support Service Specialist), Collins Robinson V (Compliance Specialist), Ty Kelly Martin (Student-Athlete Development Graduate Assistant), and Lyric Moore (Student-Athlete Development Graduate Assistant).

The summit provided student-athletes with opportunities to connect with a wide range of professionals in college sports and related industries. These interactions opened doors for potential career opportunities and mentorship, fostering relationships that will support their future endeavors.

The student-athletes met other like-minded Black student-athletes from across the country and engaged in dynamic work within their fields. This networking facilitated the exchange of ideas and experiences, strengthening a sense of community and shared purpose. Participants engaged in sessions that taught them how to create social impact on their campuses. They left the summit with proven strategies to implement initiatives that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within their university communities.

The event emphasized the importance of academic excellence and maximizing the college experience. Student-athletes and staff were encouraged to make the most of their college journey.

“As funny as it sounds… if I had to sum up the summit into one word, that word would be “magical”. I have seen all sides of this summit. From coming as a student-athlete to being the admin who leads the group of student-athletes and staff, I can whole heartedly say that the Black Student-Athlete Summit is a space that develops people from every aspect of their being,” Hughes said. “The professional development comes from such a unique angle that you can’t help but lock into the information and apply it to your individual situation. It’s hands down the best summit around! ”

“My favorite part of the summit was getting to meet other athletes especially one I compete against because it was cool to get to know them outside of a completive setting.” Kante said. “My favorite session was calling injured reserve because it talked about how an athlete should prepare themselves mentally before, during, and after injury but not only that preparing coaches as well on how to help their athletes through injury.”

The KU Leads team and student-athletes are excited to bring the knowledge and experiences gained from the summit back to their campus, further supporting and empowering Black student-athletes at the University of Kansas. This transformative experience underscores the importance of holistic development and community engagement for student-athletes.