Who We Are


Who We Are:

LEAD1 represents the athletics directors and programs of the 130 member universities of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Key to the LEAD1 mission are influencing how the rules of college sports are enacted and implemented, advocating for the future of college athletics, and providing various services to our member schools.

Mission Statement:

Supporting the athletics directors of America’s leading intercollegiate programs in preparing today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders.


The Association is led by the Honorable Tom McMillen, who served in Congress for three terms and played in the NBA for 11 years after being an All-American in college and receiving a Rhodes Scholarship.

Our Key Themes:

  1. Shape the Rules– Influence how the rules of college sports are enacted and implemented
    • Advocate within the NCAA governance structure for legislation impacting college athletics
    • Build strong relationships within the College Football Playoff (CFP) and FBS Conferences
  2. Advocate for our Future-Actively campaign for our positions to build influence and power
    • Build stronger relationships within the governance of the university
    • Develop strong ties with Congress, state legislatures, and other governmental bodies
  3. Build Our Image-Expand our reach to become a major player in college sports
    • Be an effective voice and leader in the national dialogue about college athletics and student-athlete development efforts
    • Actively shape the discussion about the importance of the college and academic experience for the student-athlete
  4. Provide Services-Continue to provide valuable services to our members
    • Continue the Institute as a professional development initiative for aspiring athletic directors as well as for orientation for new athletic directors
    • Explore opportunities to reduce member costs, generate revenue and provide greater service through centralized purchasing and group discounts


  • Billions in scholarships each year to over 50,000 deserving FBS student-athletes, many who are the first in their family to go to college, that offer an education, academic support services, nutritional counseling, health care services, fitness training opportunities, and a lifetime support structure that is unparalleled.
  • For the individual student-athlete, a scholarship at a FBS private school can approach $150,000.00 annually, according to Forbes.
  • More aid provided than any program other than the GI Bill.
  • Tens of millions in assistance for emergency expenses that range from the need for a winter coat to flying home for a family emergency.
  • Advantages from competing in intercollegiate sports that are both immediate and lifelong in all aspects of life. Studies show that lifetime earnings of those with a bachelor’s degree are 65-percent higher than those of a high school graduate.
  • A greater chance of completing a college degree as student-athletes graduate at higher rates, with nearly 13,000 returning over the last decade after their athletic eligibility to finish their undergraduate degrees.
  • An insurance policy covering all student-athletes who experience catastrophic injuries while playing or practicing their sports worth up to $20 million in lifetime insurance benefits for medical expenses and other special needs that is unmatched in its coverage, which includes allowing FBS athletes to borrow against future earnings to purchase loss-of-value insurance.
  • LEAD1 member institutions are major employers in most Congressional districts with more than $8.5 billion in annual revenue.


  • Career paths for increasing numbers of minorities and females in professional positions with compensation, advancement, and lifestyle features that are unmatched.
  • Professional development for college sports management personnel that highlights diversity, featuring 10 minority scholarships being awarded for the annual LEAD1 Institute.
  • Scholarships for many who are the first in their family to attend college.