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NCAA to roll out Leadership Collective platform

Database to highlight athletics administrators and coaches of color

Some of the most accomplished people of color in the Association who are senior administrators and coaches will get increased visibility from athletics directors, conference commissioners, college presidents and chancellors with the launch this winter of an online platform, the NCAA Leadership Collective.

The Leadership Collective will be a networking profile database that allows senior athletics and school officials to view career profiles of seasoned people of color who are athletics administrators and coaches. The profiles will detail their job experiences and responsibilities, educational backgrounds and professional development involvement. The database will include accompaniments, such as videos, as well as descriptions of their personal philosophies and interview questions and answers that provide additional insight on their experiences. The NCAA leadership development department will manage the initiative.

 The Leadership Collective will provide qualified administrators and coaches with added visibility among senior-level decision-makers in the Association. The platform also will provide opportunities for decision-makers to broaden their talent pools for committee appointments and the like, allowing them to monitor rising talent in the Association and further diversify their network circles. 

Senior-level administrators and coaches of color who have completed NCAA Leadership Development programming will be able to create a profile this fall. Those who have not gone through leadership programming will have the opportunity to participate, as well. Leadership development staff will send finalized information about the Leadership Collective to presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, faculty representatives and senior woman administrators once the platform has been populated. School presidents, chancellors, athletics directors and conference commissioners will have access to the database in early 2021.

“The Leadership Collective is an effective tool that can help the NCAA membership move closer to diversifying committee structures or candidate pools, while also informing senior-level decision-makers of qualified people of color who are leaders in the industry who want to do more or explore more opportunities,” said Derrick Gragg, NCAA senior vice president for inclusion, education and community engagement. “The NCAA leadership development team has been working diligently on this expansive platform. Now when senior executives on campus and in conference offices say they don’t know where to find qualified administrators and coaches of color, we can point directly to the Leadership Collective.”

The Leadership Collective will be housed on the NCAA leadership development website at Detailed information on creating and uploading profiles will be listed. The Leadership Collective webpage will include directions on navigating the platform.

“The Leadership Collective will position collegiate athletics exceedingly well,” said Duke athletics director Kevin White. “It’s an opportunity to have a readily available list of names and profiles of the next generation of people who are highly qualified and are incredibly capable of doing an outstanding job. This is an enormous asset and one we should readily use.”

Administrators and coaches who create profiles will be able to manage their own information in the database. Administrators and coaches will be able to update their profiles without losing any key information. 

“The Leadership Collective will be great for a variety of coaches,” said Sharon Clark, head women’s volleyball coach at Butler and president of the American Volleyball Coaches Association. “There’s always a great deal of talent out there, but the inability sometimes to find that talent is what a lot of programs struggle with when they’re looking for that next great coach or administrator. So I think this database will be tremendous in helping make that connection (for coaches and administrators) and balancing that divide.”

Clark added that the Leadership Collective could be beneficial to women of color, who rarely get access to senior-level executives.

“The Leadership Collective will also be a great pathway for women of color to find opportunities, but also for those opportunities to find them,” Clark said. “It’s harder for women of color to get into the higher echelon to show what they can do. Women of color can provide a different perspective that isn’t always at the table, but one that can make these athletics departments a better place for all, including student-athletes and the colleagues that they will work with.”

The Leadership Collective initiative furthers the inclusive efforts surrounding the NCAA Presidential Pledge, a commitment by the NCAA membership and others to promote diversity and gender equity in intercollegiate athletics. The NCAA inclusion, education and community engagement office works with the membership and ancillary groups to implement initiatives that tie to the pledge.

“The Leadership Collective is a win-win for our membership, especially for our coaches and administrators of color, many who have already completed our leadership programming,” said DeeDee Merritt, director of NCAA leadership development. “There are so many in the membership who have worked hard in their profession but have not had visibility in exclusive circles. They have excellent experience, so we know they are on the right track and ready to be considered for bigger opportunities.

“The Leadership Collective will provide the visibility and access, and hopefully open a door to conversations with key groups of individuals. This is an added tie to the NCAA Presidential Pledge and a solution for our members who haven’t been able to identify or find senior-level coaches and administrators of color in the past.”

The following web site provides additional details on the Leadership Collective: