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Student-Athlete Leadership Forum

Key dates

  • April 16-19, 2020: Canceled

The NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum, created in 1997, has served as a life-changing experience for more than 5,000 student-athletes who have grown personally and professionally as a result of their attendance. Student-athletes selected to attend the forum return to campus with invaluable leadership skills, a refined understanding of the relationship among personal values, core beliefs and behavioral styles, and the support of a close personal network of like-minded peers to provide continued connection and dialogue after the program concludes. This best-in-class programming experience serves as a transformational opportunity for student-athletes and administrators to build a leadership toolkit and develop vital self-awareness that allows them to realize their potential. 

What You’ll Learn

Both participating student-athletes and attending administrators and coaches return from the forum with enhanced leadership capabilities that allow them to thrive personally, professionally and even athletically. Participants are assigned to a “color team” with about 30 other attendees, and within those frequent color team sessions, they work in an open environment with trained facilitators to engage in discussions regarding leadership and its many components. They build a family of team members that encourages vulnerability, challenges one another with diverse perspectives, and provides unconditional support during and after the program.

In addition to impactful color team sessions, they feel the rewards of a community service project, learn about the inner workings of the NCAA, and hear from resonant keynote speakers who share powerful stories and teachings. Active learning is a priority for all facilitators and speakers at Student-Athlete Leadership Forum. One of the most rewarding aspects of the program is the participants’ ability to learn and grow alongside newly forged connections who often remain valuable for decades to come. After four days on-site, participants return to campus or conference offices feeling rejuvenated, connected and confident.

Who is Eligible

Division I: Each conference office selects student-athletes from among active member schools and an administrator from the conference office.

Division II: Each conference office selects student-athletes from among active member schools and an administrator from the conference office.

Division III: All schools in an identified region are able to submit nominations based on a first-come, first-served basis. Each eligible school within the designated region can send up to two student-athletes and one administrator. For the April 2020 forum, Division III institutions in Region 4 are eligible for nomination. For a list of Region 4 states, go here.

More detailed information about who is eligible is available here.

How to Apply

When the nomination window opens, NCAA Division I conference offices, Division II conference offices and Division III institutions in Region 4 may submit nominations via the “Nominator” tab in the NCAA Program Hub by entering a nominee’s name and email address.

Nominated student-athletes will receive an email asking them to log onto Program Hub to complete their application.

The only individuals with nominator capabilities are conference commissioners at the Division I and II levels, those holding the senior woman administrator or “student-athlete affairs administrator” designation in the NCAA directory at Division I and II conference offices and Division III institutions, and Division III athletics directors,


Attendance at the forum is offered at no cost to the participants, NCAA member schools or conference offices. The NCAA covers all expenses related to travel, ground transportation, lodging and meals.


Facilitators for the Student-Athlete Leadership Forum work closely with participants to provide an engaging programming experience by leading assigned teams in open dialogue about a wide variety of topics to instill and emphasize themes of personal leadership development. Facilitators at the forum play an integral role in the participant experience, and taking part provides an impactful opportunity to grow as an engaging leader and professional.

In order to be eligible to serve as a facilitator at the Student-Athlete Leadership Forum, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Facilitators must have participated in the NCAA Effective Facilitation Workshop.
  • Facilitators must be employed at an NCAA member school, conference office, or the NCAA national office.


For information about the Student-Athlete Leadership Forum, review the frequently asked questions about the program. For other questions, email

The NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum is an opportunity for college athletes, coaches and administrators to collectively learn about themselves and grow as the next generation of leaders.