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Athletic Department Power Index: Conference USA

The AthleticDirectorU Athletic Department Power Index, powered by Athlete Viewpoint, continues with a look at Conference USA. The Athletic Department Power Index will evaluate the desirability of Athletic Director jobs in every Division I conference across the country.


It’s imperative to note the Athletic Department Power Index is not intended or developed to analyze the performance or potential of the current Athletic Director at the respective institutions. Rather, it is an assessment of the opportunity generally through the eyes of both peers and aspirants to the position were it to become available.


Dozens of sitting Athletic Directors or executive-level administrators who currently are or could soon be a Conference USA AD were invited to share feedback on each AD job in the league. The data was used to provide detailed insights about the potential for success at each school.


The ten variables independently measured and utilized to determine the rankings include:


  • Likelihood of a change in conference affiliation during the next two years
  • Athletics facilities relative to Conference USA peers
  • Perceptions about the ability to generate donor & corporate support for the athletics program
  • Perceptions about institutional leadership (e.g. President, Trustees, C-Suite) in support of the athletic program
  • Perceptions about the quality of the institution’s brand
  • Potential for Football success relative to Conference USA peers
  • Potential for Men’s Basketball success relative to Conference USA peers
  • Potential for success in non-revenue sports relative to Conference USA peers
  • Potential to become a ‘Power 5’ AD from each institution
  • Quality of Life (cost of living, schools, culture, geography) if all other factors were equal


To view full results for every survey question, please visit the Athlete Viewpoint portal or scroll down for a recap.


Overall rankings for Conference USA AD jobs, graded on a scale of seven as ‘much better likelihood of success than peers’ & one as ‘much worse’:



Full Conference USA category-by-category ranking results:



As of October 2021, the future of FBS conference alignment plays a crucial role in the viability of AD chairs. Below is how respondents judged how likely it is for each C-USA member to transition to another league within the next two years:



Also as of October 2021, Marshall is the only Conference USA AD chair currently open. How does the opportunity to lead the Thundering Herd stack up to others within the league?



Conference USA contains a compelling cross section of state and regional institutions, some public, others private. Which football programs have resource profiles best setup for success?



The Athletic Department Power Index intends to continue reviewing all Division I conferences in the coming months. As was the case with previous conferences covered, selected individuals will be invited to participate and share their views about specific conferences and the subsequent data will be shared in a similar manner. The technical expertise, survey development, survey distribution and data visualization are provided by Athlete Viewpoint.