Who We Are


Who We Are:

LEAD1, founded in 1986 and formerly the Division 1A Athletic Directors Association, represents the athletics directors of the 133 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.

Notable LEAD1 Policy Accomplishments Since 2015:

2021 – 2022

  • May-Dec. 2022 – FBS Football Governance – LEAD1 submitted 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 participated in our proposal process. Elements of our FBS football governance proposal were incorporated into the NCAA DI Transformation Committee final report, some implied, including the need for sport-specific governance and decision-making needing to be pushed down in structure.
  • 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.
  • April 2022 – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – Ongoing – Launched diversity, equity, and inclusion coalition, which (1) released search firm trends to be conducted annually; (2) continued to administer LEAD1 Diversity Fellowship Program, three fellows of whom have become LEAD1 ADs, including most recently Selmon; (3) drafted letter to NCAA regarding Senior Minority Leadership proposal, helping influence its impact; (4) our DEI white paper recommendations related to attestation and empowerment of ADID were incorporated into the Transformation Committee Final Report; and (5) met with NCAA to discuss next steps on search firms, and other policy DEI recommendations from our white paper.
  • 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 two (2) 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.

2015 – Present

LEAD1 has been a thought leader on critical issues by (1) releasing novel op-eds and white papers; (2) speaking to influential college sports bodies; (3) outlining college sports reform proposals; (4) amplifying LEAD1’s brand across national and local media platforms; (5) educating federal and state policymakers; and (6) releasing timely webinars/podcasts, and surveys.