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NCAA Emerging Leaders Seminar

The Emerging Leaders Seminar (ELS) is an annual professional development event providing effective leadership, educational and transitional programing for more than 200 current graduate assistants and interns from NCAA membership institutions, conference offices and affiliate organizations. The three-day program educates, develops and connects selected participants, and can increase the likelihood for rapid career progression within college sports.

At ELS, you explore the role of NCAA governance, including the differences in the divisions and the role of conference offices, and you also get the opportunity to identify, and network with, key decision makers within college athletics.

You will also explore topics such as self-awareness and group dynamics, and along with a large group of your peers, evaluate their impact on the leadership within athletics departments. Through this exposure, you will return to your current role with the applicable skills and knowledge that will help you succeed in the next steps to becoming a college athletics professional.

The 2017 Emerging Leaders Seminar will be held in January 25-27 at the NCAA national office in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Applicants must currently be an intern or a graduate assistant within athletics departments at member institutions, conference offices, NCAA affiliate organizations or the NCAA national office. Individuals must also have completed a bachelor’s degree.

Key dates

Sept. 4, 2015: Application opens

Oct. 9, 2015: Application closes; materials due

November 16, 2015: ELS participants notified

January 27-29, 2016: 2016 ELS Program  

Contact us

For more information about the Emerging Leaders Seminar, please contact NCAA leadership development via email at

Key Dates

January 27-29, 2017: 2017 ELS Program

“I still stay in touch with all the new people I met at Emerging Leaders Seminar. It’s great to see how much my peers are already succeeding within collegiate athletics.”
        Emily Parkins
        graduate assistant, Millersville University

“One immediate takeaway from ELS was to just be myself. I really did some digging on what my values are, and seeing how my values can also align with the institution that I’ll serve at next.”
        Cody Finch
        graduate assistant, Virginia Tech

“I learned a couple ideas in the event management seminar I sat in. We had a panel and there were specific results I can take to our championships in the spring.”
        Hillary Bach
        administrative fellow, Pac-12