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Leadership Development Staff

To reach a member of the NCAA leadership development staff, send an email to

DeeDee Merritt

Acting Director

DeeDee Merritt came to the NCAA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2016. At the national office, she administers the NCAA Postgraduate Internship Program, Student-Athlete Leadership Forum, National Student-Athlete Day, Athlete Development Professional Certification Program, Emerging Leaders Seminar, Effective Facilitation Workshop, Leadership Academy Workshop and DiSC behavioral assessments.

Merritt came to the NCAA after more than 15 years at Milwaukee, where she served in positions including assistant athletics director, director of special projects (global inclusion and engagement), and coordinator of women’s services and advocacy. During her time in the athletics department, Merritt created life skills programming for college athletes and professional development for administrators; managed Horizon League championship tournaments; coordinated athletics and recreation facility scheduling; supervised the academic monitoring program; and executed campus training workshops on bystander intervention, relationship violence and leadership training. She served as chair of the Horizon League Life Skills Coordinator Group, was the advisor to the Milwaukee Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and administrative liaison to the Horizon League SAAC.

Merritt has a Bachelor of Science in business management from the University of Phoenix and a master’s degree in business administration from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee. She previously has worked at the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.

Marissa Robinson

Assistant Director

Marissa Robinson is currently an NCAA Assistant Director in Leadership Development, where she is responsible for a majority of our minority program initiatives and DII/DIII Pathway. Prior to becoming the assistant director in leadership development, Marissa was an NCAA post-graduate intern in leadership development. She also was a Top 30 Nominee for Woman of the Year. During her time as an intern, she oversaw DiSC and assisted on numerous programs impacting student-athletes, coaches and administrators.

Marissa graduated summa cum laude from Kean University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Special Education and Psychology. During her time at Kean, she was a four year field hockey student-athlete, member of the Leadership Council, President of her campus and conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and a member of the Division III National SAAC. She also worked for the Student Government Programming Board, planning events for the campus community. As a student-athlete, she was a two-time captain, earning All-Conference, All-Region and All-American honors.

Outside of work, Marissa loves cooking, spending time with friends and family, binge-watching Netflix, and exercising.

Ali Teopas

Assistant Director

As assistant director of leadership development, Teopas oversees the NCAA Chancellors and Presidents Engagement Program, the Division II and Division III diversity grants, Learning Management Systems, Career in Sports Forum and assists with the administration of the Student-Athlete Leadership Forum.

Teopas works closely with the NCAA national office executive, governance and regulatory affairs staff to build relationships and provide resources to chancellors and presidents in the membership. She also collaborates with the governance staff, administrative services and the membership-based selection committees to establish policies and increase consistency and efficiency for the grants.

Ali came to the NCAA in 2013 as an assistant coordinator of championships and alliances. After being promoted to coordinator, she served as championship manager of the NCAA Division II Women’s Golf Championships, and supported five additional championships: Division I men’s soccer, Division II wrestling, and Divisions I, II and III rowing. She previously was the assistant athletics director of external affairs, assistant softball coach and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee advisor in four years at Wittenberg University as part of both the NCAA Division III Ethnic Minority and Women’s Internship Grant and the NCAA Division III Strategic Alliance Matching Grant.

Teopas has a Bachelor of Arts in sports management and communication from Denison University, where she was a student-athlete on the softball team and president of both the Denison SAAC and the North Coast Athletic Conference SAAC. Additionally, Teopas holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Dayton.

Nicole Jameson


Nicole Jameson serves as coordinator of leadership development. Her primary duties consist of the internal operations of the department such as budget oversight, policies and procedures and research analytics, the development and implementation of initiatives impacting the transition of student-athletes to life after sports, and the support of a smooth transition for NCAA student-athletes into professional sports. Jameson is also the creator and primary administrator for the NCAA Elite Student-Athlete Symposium (Basketball & Football) and conducts the initiative to provide financial awareness for college athletes.

Jameson came to the NCAA from Georgia Institute of Technology where she worked as the assistant director of the Total Person Program and executive assistant to the director of athletics. While at Georgia Tech, Jameson created and managed life skills programming for all Yellow Jacket student-athletes that consisted of a series of topics related to career development and placement, personal health and well-being, and community outreach. She also served as an advisor on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

A native of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, Jameson attended North Carolina State University and earned a Bachelor of Science in sport management. She also holds a master’s degree in sports administration from Georgia State University and certificates in both financial management and women in leadership from Cornell University.

Patricia E. McConney

Administrative Assistant

Patricia E. McConney is an administrative assistant in the NCAA leadership development department. Her main responsibilities include collecting, processing and filing BEOs, contracts and invoices for department programs. She also assists in logistics of the programs, including hotel, travel, presentations and gifts. Additionally, she receives invoices and processes them into the accounting system.

Prior to working in the leadership development department, McConney was an administrative assistant in the Division I governance department at the NCAA.

McConney’s past job experiences entailed working at the Indianapolis Public Schools, the University at Albany – State University of New York (SUNY), the Indiana House of Representatives, and she worked as an executive secretary in the Office of the Mayor of Gary, Indiana. McConney attended Schenectady County Community College in Schenectady, New York, as well as, SUNY Albany and Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis.

Patrick Malin

2018-19 Postgraduate Intern

Education: Hamilton College (B.A.)

Patrick Malin earned his undergraduate degree in May from Hamilton, a small liberal arts school in Clinton, New York, where he completed a major in world politics. At Hamilton, he competed on the track and field team as a thrower (weight throw, shot put, hammer throw and discus), served as the sports editor for The Spectator school newspaper, and played tuba in the Hamilton orchestra and brass ensemble.

In 2016, Malin served as a media relations intern for the Eau Claire Express in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, a summer collegiate baseball team that competes in the Northwoods League. The next summer, he worked at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota, a 600-acre multisport complex. As a media intern, Malin’s primary duties were related to the USA CUP, a youth soccer tournament that draws teams from across the world to the National Sports Center every July.

A native of Plymouth, Minnesota, Malin attended Wayzata High School. Malin enjoys playing pickup basketball, watching Minnesota sports teams play, traveling, and spending time with friends, family and his beagle, Toby.