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Volume 27 No. 10
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Women Still Struggling To Land AD Positions At Power Five Schools

Williams (r) believes there are more women in the pipeline to eventually lead Power Five schools
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Williams (r) believes there are more women in the pipeline to eventually lead Power Five schools
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Williams (r) believes there are more women in the pipeline to eventually lead Power Five schools
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

There are currently only four women "leading the athletic department" across the 65 schools in the Power Five, though there is a "growing, if guarded, sense that the next decade could yield a dramatic shift in the gender dynamics at the top ranks of college sports," according to Alan Blinder of the N.Y. TIMES. Women are "increasingly filling other athletic administrative posts, especially outside the Power Five conferences." Ohio Univ. AD Julie Cromer said, "Leadership is beginning to look different than it has for decades." Sixty-eight women were hired as ADs or conference commissioners "across the college sports landscape" in '18, up from 19 in '12. Most of the recent hires were in D-II or D-III. Parker Executive Search VP & Managing Dir Daniel Parker this year "helped draw" Cromer to Ohio and Terry Gawlik to the Univ. of Idaho as AD. He said that higher education power brokers were "increasingly willing to drop criteria, like experience as a Power Five athletic director, that effectively limited women or candidates of color." Still, with N.C. State AD Debbie Yow’s retirement this year, the "number of female athletic directors in the Power Five has fallen." In addition to Pitt's Heather Lyke, the "limited list" of female Power Five ADs consists of Penn State's Sandy Barbour, Washington's Jennifer Cohen and Virginia's Carla Williams. Barbour is the "only one of the women" known to make at least $1M per year; at least 17 male ADs "earned that much or more" in '17-18. Women Leaders in College Sports CEO Patti Phillips said, "We’re trying to make a cultural shift -- that’s the big piece -- and those things don’t happen overnight." Williams: "There are more women in middle management, in the pipeline, so I’m hopeful that that will translate into more women in those roles" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/15).