NCAA Division I, II and III Athletic Director Research 

PRESS RELEASE 

January 24, 2019

Contacts: 
Elisha Orama
Women Leaders in College Sports
elisha@womenleadersincollegesports.org
816-389-8207

Karen Sung 
Arizona State University 
karen.sung@asu.edu
480-727-9052

Kansas City, Mo. – Women Leaders in College Sports, the nation’s premier women’s athletic leadership association, in collaboration with Glenn Wong, executive director and distinguished professor, and Stephanie Jarvis, from the Sports Law and Business program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, is excited to share research updates on the career trajectory of NCAA Division I, II, and III athletic directors.

ASU Law and Women Leaders partnered in 2017 to better understand the hiring trends, career paths, education, and experience both men and women athletic directors have before they landed athletic director jobs at Division I and Division III institutions. This research update – which was completed in 2018 – included new data on Division II athletic directors. Women Leaders in College Sports will continue to use this valuable information to supplement its existing professional development curriculum, and Women Leaders members will be able to make more informed career-promoting and advancing decisions. 

“The Sports Law and Business program at ASU Law is honored to continue working with Women Leaders in College Sports,” Wong says. “This update focused on Division II and Division III athletic directors and their specific hiring trends. We were excited to be able to collect data on Division II athletic directors for the first time, thanks to the NCAA Division II governance department and NCAA Office of Inclusion. This update also highlighted the gains women have made at all divisions this past year in getting to the athletic director seat. There is still work to do, but this partnership allows us to provide a meaningful impact and push for a more diverse college athletics industry.”

“Women Leaders strive to continue to provide our members with the most-recent and most-informative information on hiring trends, including the career path and trends of women who have earned athletic director jobs,” says Patti Phillips, CEO of Women Leaders in College Sports. “We greatly appreciate the work Glenn Wong and his team have done to research and put numbers to what we’ve been seeing in the industry the last two years. This research supports our mission of diversifying the pool of collegiate athletic directors.”  

The data was strictly compiled using public data and reflects only what was available on each institution’s website and other online resources. Glenn and his team went through hundreds of websites to collect information on all Division I, II, and III athletic directors. The data gathering process was completed on April 30, 2018 and was reflective of all athletic directors to that date. Any athletic director changes after that date will be recorded in next year’s report. Glenn gave a summarized report at the 2018 Women Leaders National Convention in Atlanta, GA.

Summary of research:
Division I
Overall, women have made gains in Division I and now make up 13% of all athletic directors
From July 2017-April 2018, 16 of the 58 new athletic director hires have been women (28%)
Majority of Division I athletic directors have experience primarily in fundraising and/or marketing
Division II
Overall, women make up 18% of athletic directors in Division II
From July 2017-April 2018, 12 of the 56 new athletic director hires have been women (21%)
7 of the 56 new Division ll athletic directors have come from a Division I school (13%)
Majority of Division ll athletic directors have experience primarily in fundraising and/or operations/facilities.
Division III
Overall, women make up 32% of athletic directors in Division lll
From July 2017-April 2018, 28 of the 66 new athletic director hires have been women (42%)
7 of the 66 new athletic directors have come from a Division I school (11%)
Majority of Division III athletic directors have experience primarily operations/facilities

About Women Leaders in College Sports

Founded in 1979, Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA; www.womenleadersincollgesports.org) is the only nationally recognized collegiate professional membership organization whose mission is to develop, connect, and advance women leaders working in intercollegiate athletics. More than 3,500 members strong, Women Leaders promotes the growth, leadership, and success of women as athletics administrators, conference commissioners, professional staff, coaches, and student-athletes.

About the Sports Law and Business program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

The Sports Law and Business program at the Sandra Day O’ Connor College of Law at Arizona State University is the only graduate program in the country that strategically combines law, business, and athletics to teach and prepare the next generation of sports industry leaders. The program features an innovative curriculum, experiential learning and faculty experienced in both the classroom and within the industry.