Who We Are

Who we are:

LEAD1 Association (“LEAD1”), formerly the Division 1A Athletic Directors Association, which was founded in 1986, is the membership association that represents the 133 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (“FBS”) athletic directors.

    • Based in Washington, D.C., the Honorable Tom McMillen is the President and Chief Executive Officer of LEAD1. McMillen is a former Congressman, college basketball All-American, Rhodes Scholar, and NBA player. McMillen took over LEAD1 in 2015.

What we do:

                 I. Policy — Notable accomplishments since 2015:

  • 2023
    • April 2023 – Current – New Model for College Sports – LEAD1 provides thought leadership on future models thru its meeting forums.
    • Jan. 2023 — Current – National Football League (NFL) Relations – LEAD1 meets with NFL representatives to discuss increased collaboration and information sharing.
    • Jan.-April 2023 – Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) – LEAD1 develops compilation of NIL feedback for the NCAA from more than 40 LEAD1 institutions addressing granular NCAA NIL issues. In addition, LEAD1 surveys 75 ADs on NIL sharing survey results with NCAA President Baker.
  • 20212022
    • May-Dec. 2022 — FBS Football Governance — LEAD1 submits FBS football governance recommendations to NCAA Board of Directors to reform structure within the NCAA. More than 100 LEAD1 ADs, all FBS conference commissioners, and the CFP Executive Director participate in its proposal process. LEAD1 helps influence the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee recommendation to provide more autonomy for FBS football within the NCAA.
    • Aug. 2022 — Infractions — Seven (7) LEAD1 infractions working group recommendations are adopted by the NCAA Board of Directors based upon Oct. 2021 comment letter endorsed by 75 LEAD1 ADs. More LEAD1 recommendations expected to pass.
    • May 2022 — Five Year Rule Waiver — LEAD1 helps pass 2019-23, which eliminates the requirement that a student-athlete must be in his or her initial year of full-time enrollment to satisfy a five-year rule waiver.
    • Fall/Winter 2021/2022 — NCAA Constitution — LEAD1 provides influential comment to the NCAA’s Constitution Committee.
  • 2020-2021
    • Ongoing since Sept. 2020 — Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) — LEAD1 releases its DEI White Paper to help create more opportunities for people of color. One of the paper’s notable recommendations includes creating a highly selective diversity fellowship program, which has already resulted in three (3) fellows becoming LEAD1 ADs.
  • 2019-2020
    • Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) and Transfer Legislation — LEAD1 helps shape the NCAA’s NIL and one-time transfer legislative proposals including coining the phrase “third party administrator” that the NCAA used prior to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Alston case.
    • July 2019 — Need and Merit-Based Aid Legislation — LEAD1 comment on need and merit-based aid proposal (2019-119) exempting certain aid from team financial limitations influences its adoption.
  • 2016-2017
    • May 2017 – Insurance Policies – LEAD1 and the NCAA conduct joint study on student-athletes health insurance practices, which leads to several changes in NCAA insurance coverage policies.
    • Time Management Legislation – LEAD1 helps shape NCAA time management plan legislation/LEAD1 helps members implement these changes.
    • April 2016 – Academic Misconduct Legislation – LEAD1 influences academic misconduct legislation creating clearer standards for academic integrity issues.

       II. Education

  • Notable accomplishments since 2015: LEAD1 has been a thought leader on critical issues by (1) releasing novel op-eds and white papers/reports/memos; (2) speaking to influential college sports bodies including FBS conferences, NCAA, CFP, Knight Commission, NFL, NFLPA, and Drake Group; (3) outlining college sports reform proposals, (4) amplifying LEAD1’s brand across national and local media platforms; (5) educating policymakers; and (6) releasing timely virtual forums.

        III. Services

  • Host two (2) in-person meetings each year for members to discuss policy issues and build relationships among their counterparts.