Women Leaders in College Sports, in Partnership with Arizona State University Law Program Directors, Announce NCAA Division I, II and III Athletic Director Research Findings


PRESS RELEASE

November 17, 2020

Contacts:
Meg Dowd
Women Leaders in College Sports
meg@womenleadersincollegesports.org 
816.389.8200

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

Kansas City, Mo.—  Women Leaders in College Sports (Women Leaders), in collaboration with executive director, Glenn Wong, and distinguished professor, Stephanie Jarvis, from the Allan “Bud” Selig Master of Sports Law and Business program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University (ASU Law), are excited to make public their updated research findings on the career trajectory of NCAA Division I, Division II and Division III athletic directors. 
 
Women Leaders began this partnership with ASU Law in 2017 to better understand the hiring trends and career characteristics of men and women administrators who are hired to athletic director jobs, across all NCAA Divisions. Specifically, both parties aimed to learn more about the paths, education and experience levels attributed to those hires before they landed the designated position of athletic director. 

"As an organization dedicated to advancing women at all levels, research is vital to the education and development of our members," says Patti Phillips, CEO of Women Leaders in College Sports. “The work of Glenn Wong and the team at ASU Law brings awareness to efforts in diversifying the pool of collegiate athletic directors, which allows us to help prepare our members for the athletic director chair. We are thrilled to continue this partnership and utilize ASU’s research to invest in Women Leaders everywhere!”  

The data used in this research was strictly compiled from public data and reflects only readily available information from each institution’s website and additional online resources. Wong and his team navigated hundreds of websites to collect information on all current athletic directors at every Division. The data gathering process was completed on April 30, 2020 and is reflective of all athletic directors to that date. Any changes to personnel in those roles after that date, will be recorded in next year’s report.  

“The Allen “Bud” Selig Sports Law & Business Program at the Arizona State University College of Law is honored and privileged to have the opportunity to share its research with Women Leaders in College Sports for the fourth year,” says Wong. “As Presidents are making hiring decisions and aspiring Athletic Directors are exploring the best career path to achieve their goal, this research provides valuable data and trends, particularly in this time of change and uncertainty.” 
 
The following research update (2020), provides reporting on trends across all three divisions. Women Leaders in College Sports continues to use this information to supplement its existing professional development curriculum. The organization’s members are encouraged to make informed career-promoting and advancing decisions, based on this curriculum provided during educational opportunities at Women Leaders. 

Summary of Updated Hiring Trends for Athletic Directors: 
Division I

  • Overall, women have made gains in Division I and now make up 15.3% of all athletic directors. 
  • From April 2019 to April 2020, 10 of the 39 new athletic director hires have been women (25.6%). 
  • Majority of Division I athletic directors have experience primarily in fundraising and/or marketing 
  • From 2018 to 2019, Division I saw a 0.4% increase in female representation. In 2020, Division I saw a 1.6% increase in female representation.  
  • From 2018 to 2019, Division I saw a 0.7% decrease in minority representation. In 2020, Division I saw a 0.5% increase in minority representation .

Division II 

  • Overall, women have made gains in Division II and now make up 21.0% of athletic directors in Division II. 
  • From April 2019 to April 2020, 17 of the 40 new athletic director hires have been women (42.5%)  .
  • 7 of the 40 new Division II athletic directors have come from directly from Division I school (15.9%). 18 have experience at a Division I school (40.9%) .
  • Majority of Division II athletic directors have experience primarily in fundraising and/or operations/facilities.  
  • From 2018 to 2019, Division II saw a 0.7% increase in female representation. In 2020, Division II saw a 2.4% increase in female representation 
  • From 2018 to 2019, Division II saw a 0.2% decrease in minority representation. In 2020, Division II did not see an increase or decrease in minority representation.   

Division III 

  • Overall, women make up 31.9% of athletic directors in Division III. 
  • From April 2019 to April 2020, 24 of the 68 new athletic director hires have been women (35.3%).  
  • 8 of the 68 new Division III athletic directors have come from directly from a Division I school (11.8%). 26 have experience at a Division I school (38.2%). 
  • Majority of Division III athletic directors have experience primarily operations/facilities.  
  • From 2018 to 2019, Division III did not see an increase or decrease in female representation. In 2020, Division III saw a 0.1% increase in female representation.   
  • From 2018 to 2019, Division III did not see an increase or decrease in minority representation. In 2020, Division III saw a 1.2% increase in minority representation.   

Learn more about the Leadership Hub, Women Leader's dynamic and expansive leadership resource center here.

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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.

About Women Leaders in College Sports

Founded in 1979, Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA) 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. Follow Women Leaders on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @WomenLeadersCS.