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 130 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (“FBS”) athletic directors and their departments. We are based in Washington, D.C.

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. McMillen is a former Congressman, college basketball All-American, Rhodes Scholar, and NBA player and took over LEAD1 in 2015.

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
    • We generally try to 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.
  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;
    • More services coming:
      • “LEAD1 NIL Institutional Report” to provide cutting-edge and exclusive NIL articles to our members related to institutional involvement
      • Creating a “LEAD1 Diversity Program” to help more people of color advance into leadership positions