LEAD1 Association Releases Proposal to Reform FBS Football Governance

LEAD1 ADs overwhelmingly support changes to FBS football governance within the NCAA. Association and ADs seek to create an FBS Football Chief Operating Officer leadership position and an FBS Football Board closely aligned with the FBS conferences

WASHINGTON DC, December 14, 2022 – LEAD1 Association (“LEAD1”), which represents the athletics directors of the 131-member schools of the Football Bowl Subdivision (“FBS”), today released an FBS Football governance proposal that outlines the position of LEAD1 athletics directors (“FBS ADs”). The proposal, which was recently sent to the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and the Transformation Committee, was developed following LEAD1’s September 2022 FBS AD-only meeting in Washington, D.C., during which there was overwhelming support for reforming FBS football governance within the NCAA.

After an elaborate seven-month process during which more than 100 FBS ADs, all 10 FBS commissioners, NCAA governance representatives, and the College Football Playoff (CFP) Executive Director participated in dialogue about the future of FBS football governance, LEAD1 reached a consensus on the following two recommendations.


Recommendation One: Creation of an FBS Football Governing Board More Closely Aligned with FBS Conferences.

The NCAA should establish an FBS Football Governing Board (the “Board”), primarily comprised of football-knowledgeable individuals. Each FBS conference will appoint one representative to the Board, which will also contain one representative from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and four independent directors, at least two of which will be former FBS football student-athletes. The four independent directors are to be appointed by the FBS conference Board members and the AFCA Board representative. The newly formed Board should serve as a parallel entity to the NCAA Division I Council. The Board should decide all matters related to FBS football except for academic, student-athlete financial aid/benefit rules, and decisions deemed to materially impact the NCAA (including financial, health and safety, and other risk factors) amongst possible other important decisions, which should be subject to NCAA Division I Board of Directors oversight.


Recommendation Two: Creation of FBS Football Operational Leadership Position in a Chief Operating Officer.

A new Chief Operating Officer (COO) position should be created for FBS football, similar to the current role held by Dan Gavitt, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball, who currently sits on the NCAA President’s Leadership Team/Cabinet. The new COO would run the day-to-day operation of the sport, alongside a dedicated staff, and would report to the newly formed FBS Football Governing Board. Like Gavitt, the FBS Football COO should also be on the NCAA President’s Leadership Team/Cabinet.


If there is a failure in the implementation of these recommendations, LEAD1 is in favor of examining options for such decision-making outside of the NCAA.

“We believe that this sport-specific governance model would lead to a more responsive and less bureaucratic decision-making process for FBS football,” said LEAD1 President and CEO Tom McMillen. “Our process in developing these recommendations demonstrates the power of LEAD1 in bringing practitioner voices together to find common ground even in a very stratified landscape.”


LEAD1’s full proposal can be found here


About the LEAD1 Association:

LEAD1, founded in 1986 and formerly the Division 1A Athletic Directors Association, represents the athletics directors of the 131 member universities of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), that encompasses 42 states, 55,000 student athletes, and more than 25,000 athletic administrators.  Key to LEAD1’s mission is advocating on policy facing NCAA Division I FBS athletic departments, promoting consensus among FBS athletic directors, and providing valuable services to member schools – all dedicated towards supporting the success of student-athletes and future of college sports.  Since 2015, LEAD1 has been led by the Honorable Tom McMillen, a former Congressman, college basketball All-American, Rhodes Scholar, and 11-year NBA player.  For more information, please visit www.LEAD1Association.com.



LEAD1: Bart Lambergman, bart@lead1a.com

FINN Partners:  Zach Groen, zach.groen@finnpartners.com