Who We Are


Who We Are:

LEAD1, founded in 1986 and formerly the Division 1A Athletic Directors Association, represents the athletics directors of the 130 member universities of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), that encompasses 42 states, 55,000 student athletes, and more than 25,000 athletic administrators.

Mission Statement:

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.

What We Do:

  1. Policy
    • Advocate on policy issues facing NCAA Division I FBS athletic departments
      • In recent years, we have created working groups comprised of our athletic directors and senior staff on issues including name, image, and likeness (NIL), transfers, sport and scholarship administration, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and enforcement;
      • We have released policy white papers to our members on issues including sports betting, Title IX standard practices, and NCAA athletic director “attestation of compliance” legislation;
      • We have submitted feedback to the NCAA on critical issues such as best practices in representative governance and championship finance administration;
      • We educate federal and state policymakers on college sports issues upon request.
  2. Communications/Public Relations
    • Promote consensus FBS athletic director opinion on big topics to the college sports community and general public
      • We’ve released survey results on NIL, future of college sports issues, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  3. Education
    • Create virtual content (e.g., webinars and podcast interviews) on the most relevant topics facing our membership;
    • Created a “Guide to Sport Supervision” for best practices in sport supervision approaches;
    • Conducted market study research on emerging issues in college sports including sports betting, esports, and over-the-top (OTT) media;
    • Release a bi-monthly NIL institutional publication to provide cutting-edge and exclusive NIL articles to our members.
  4. Services
    • Host at least two (2) in-person annual meetings each year for members to collaborate and build relationships among their counterparts;
    • Host the “LEAD1 Institute” each year for senior-level administrators ready to assume the chair;
    • Created a “LEAD1 Diversity Fellowship Program” to help more people of color advance into leadership positions.