Powered by

NCAA Leadership Survey: Spring 2021

In light of equity concerns surrounding the men’s and women’s NCAA championships, as well as NCAA President Mark Emmert’s recent vote of confidence from the Board of Governors and subsequent new contract, AthleticDirectorU and Athlete Viewpoint surveyed Division I athletic directors and commissioners on a number of topics. The results of the survey and comments from leadership can be found below.



Notable comments:


  • “Are you kidding me? All this has done is create a greater selfish divide and disparity amongst the NCAA landscape. It has also lead to where we are today (not in a good place)…”


  • “When the NCAA leadership decided that one institution, one vote no longer represented the best interests of collegiate athletics, but rather the magnitude of an institution’s revenue and/or the fortune of conference association would best serve and represent the interests of the whole, the organization was set on a path to failure. The last 24 months have been nothing shy of the greatest failures of association.”


  • “We need clear leadership and it’s clear as mud right now.”


  • “It is easy to “Monday morning quarterback” the decision/vote, but was there really a better alternative that would have kept D1 together? Also, the vote has resulted in legislation that has improved resources to student-athletes. One can argue the legislation needs to go further, but what has happened has been a positive for student-athletes.”


  • “It has allowed for a much brighter future for the autonomous five conferences, as they control the decisions and financial resources within the NCAA. The remainder of DI has seen costs rise and revenues generally flat from the NCAA or diminishing.”


  • “I do not think the NCAA generally has handled the various crisis’ of the last 10 years well, which I think leaves us weaker as an organization, more vulnerable to outside management, and with increasing dissatisfied student-athletes.”



Notable comments:


  • “The BOD “vote of confidence” was too quick…. there should be a careful, respectful evaluation of a CEO’s situation then a decision on a vote of confidence (or not)…. the public statement could not have allowed for an evaluation, simply too personal & irresponsible on the BOD’s part.”


  • “Association leadership is about establishing a vision and then bringing the membership together in the pursuit of that vision. Mark has not established a clear vision, which has allowed conferences and institutions to move forward on a path of their own interests, rather than the interests of the enterprise.”


  • “I have worked with Mark Emmert in the past and know that if he cares about an issue, he dedicates resources (both financial and workforce) to the resolution of that issue. I believe that if gender equity regarding championships was an important issue for him, equity would be achieved.”


  • “The stark differences in equity not only between male and female sports but also HBCU’s. The NCAA has not placed a high enough priority on diversity, inclusion, and equity within our enterprise.”


  • “How many missteps can Mark Emmert continue to make? If he was a cat, his nine lives expired awhile ago. We need somebody who is more savvy publicly and is going to provide some innovation with the turbulent waters ahead. Mr. Emmert listens to his attorneys too much.”


  • “The two committees worked independently of one another. Men’s basketball had the advantage of being in the city where the staff could just gather additional support from the office while the women were at a location remote from the national office and additional support staff. There is no way that Dr. Emmert or senior staff would have allowed the inequities that took place had they been aware. This was a one off due to planning on the fly and lack of communication between the two committees. Also, the Covid-19 related cutbacks and early retirements culled long serving staff that may have been better able to address.”


  • “The NCAA Board of Governors is out of touch with the membership. President Emmert is a politician and reactionary who has failed to resolve the major issues facing college athletics in recent years. The NCAA needs a visionary, proactive leader to move the enterprise in a positive direction.”


  • “It is common in public to bash Mark Emmert and “the NCAA” for all of the perceived inequities in college sports. However, the vast majority of the rules that govern the NCAA were voted in by the members and reflect the members’ goals and mission.”


When asked about the most important step the NCAA can take, these are the most mentioned phrases.



Finally, we asked leaders about their opinions on the state of the NCAA, in various areas, compared to where the association was five years ago.