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NCAA hires Derrick Gragg as senior vice president of inclusion, education and community engagement

President Mark Emmert has selected Dr. Derrick Gragg, an accomplished leader with more than two decades of experience in college athletics administration, as the NCAA’s new senior vice president for inclusion, education and community engagement.

Dr. Derrick Gragg

Gragg, currently vice president and director of athletics at Tulsa, will serve as the Association’s chief diversity and inclusion officer and report to Emmert. He also will serve on the NCAA senior management team. Gragg will begin his new role with the NCAA on Oct. 5. 

“Derrick brings exceptional experience and knowledge to the NCAA, and we look forward to his strong leadership around diversity, inclusion and equity policies and procedures for the Association,” Emmert said. “As a former FBS football student-athlete and longtime athletics administrator in roles in many segments of Division I, Derrick understands the intercollegiate landscape and will be able to formulate relationships where the NCAA can work with constituencies to build more inclusive environments, which will enhance the experiences of student-athletes, coaches and athletics administrators. We welcome him and his family to Indianapolis.”

As senior vice president, Gragg will have a dual focus on internal and external initiatives and programming. He will lead all internal inclusion operations and supervise national office staff in inclusion, education and community engagement. Externally, he will serve as a national office ambassador to member organizations to promote the NCAA core values of diversity and inclusion. 

“As a former student-athlete and 27-year intercollegiate athletics administrator, I have dedicated my entire career to the betterment of young people,” Gragg said. “During this historic era in our country, I look forward to supporting our student-athletes, engaging coaches and staff members, as well as working with our membership to identify ways to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion are reflected on all levels. I am honored to be entrusted with this responsibility and look forward to identifying ways to help unite our 1,100 institutions to make a significant impact on higher education and our country as a whole.”

Gragg will work to strengthen inclusive education and its reach to the membership and national office staff around policies and programming. He also will oversee the NCAA’s leadership development office, which has increased online programming for student-athletes in the areas of career instruction and social justice activism.

Additionally, Gragg will lead the NCAA Accelerating Academic Success Program, which provides grants to eligible schools to assist with programming and systems that will further student-athlete academic achievement and success. He also will focus on further developing the NCAA’s community engagement activities. Leading this effort, Gragg will bring together and enhance the NCAA’s community initiatives centered in Indianapolis, where the NCAA is headquartered, as well as engagement initiatives around the country.

In addition to his tenure at Tulsa, Gragg was athletics director at Eastern Michigan; served in various leadership roles at Arkansas, including deputy athletics director; and has athletics experience at Michigan, Missouri and Vanderbilt.