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NCAA Leadership Institute

The Leadership Institute provides tailored programming to assist racial and ethnic minorities in strategically mapping and planning their careers in athletics administration by providing professional development programming over the course of a calendar year, which includes two, one-week programs at the beginning and conclusion of that year.

Combining the in-person sessions, continuing education activities throughout the year and the extensive alumni group, participants not only exceedingly enhance and master skill sets but also explore and plan for future career goals and paths.

The 2016 Leadership Institute will take place July 9-15, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown in Phoenix, Arizona.  In 2017, the Institute is scheduled for July 8-14 in Tampa, Florida.

Year one

As a Year One participant, you will begin with a week of activities and key learning focused on exploring your career aspirations and enhancing essential skills. First, you will spend time exploring goals, clarifying values and looking closer at your behavioral styles, as well as those of your peers. Next, an intensive budget activity will allow you to engage fellow participants and learn how to problem-solve, fundraise and present strategic plans.

You will also explore the internal workings of an athletics department mid-week with a visit to NCAA member institutions in the area and actively engage athletics department staff with discussions of campus culture, organizational structures and communication best practices.

The last few days of the week, you will gain knowledge in a variety of topic areas that can include: student-athlete welfare issues, diversity and inclusion issues at all levels of college athletics, strategic planning, budget management, fundraising, compliance, human resources and performance management within the organization, as well as an understanding the role of search firms play within the business of intercollegiate athletics.

As a conclusion to the week, you will network with the Year Two participants and previous Institute participants as you prepare to embark on the upcoming yearlong journey of continuing education and experiential learning.

Year two

After a year in the program, you will reconvene with your Leadership Institute class and continue to explore your goals, values and behavioral styles, gain feedback from your colleagues and continue to expand your knowledge of student-athlete health and welfare. The remainder of the program will be spent within a topical engaging professional development workshop that allows you to showcase your mastery of essential athletics administration skills.


Applicants for the Leadership Institute must currently be a full-time employee at an NCAA membership institution. To be considered, it is preferred that applicants have a minimum of three years of combined administrative and/or coaching experience within college athletics. Additionally, applicants should be serving in a mid- to senior-level leadership capacity within their organizational chart at the associate level or above (consideration is given to varying organizational structures).

Candidates should have diverse college athletics work experience and who have been recognized or demonstrated ability to lead through any or all of the following: current work role; educational association; or successful completion of professional leadership program (e.g., NACWAA/HERS, NACDA, MOAA). Additionally, applicants should also be able to contribute to, and advise, unit leaders and/or executive staff, both within the athletics department and the national level.

Eligible applicants should be able to demonstrate skills and experience in at least two of the following areas: university, conference and NCAA administration; strategic planning; budget management; fundraising; university and NCAA compliance; student-athlete welfare issues and initiatives; diversity and inclusion issues and initiatives at all levels of collegeathletics; human resources and performance management within organization.

Finally, due to the extensive nature of the program, a letter of recommendation from a current supervisor or director of athletics is also required as a part of the application process.

Cost of attendance

The NCAA will arrange and cover the cost of hotel accommodations and meals during the program and any program materials. Attendees are responsible for airfare to and from the program, along with expenses incurred during travel.

Attendees are responsible for all costs associated with travel to and from the program and meals when they are not provided, including travel days.


The online application for 2016 Institute will open Wednesday, March 23, 2016. To access the application, click here to visit NCAA Program Hub.

Contact us

For more information about the NCAA Leadership Institute, or application questions, please contact Jackie Kelly, leadership development intern, via email at or by phone at 317-917-6246.

Key Dates

  • March 23, 2016 (Application opens)
  • April 15, 2016 (Application closes)
  • Week of May 6, 2016 (Participants notified)
  • July 9-15, 2016 (Program Dates)