Forces Behind the Scenes: The Top Five NCAA Athletic Directors
This list profiles some of the most innovative and best athletic directors in college sports today.
The reason these athletic directors are being ranked is because they have a very significant influence on the overall productivity, integrity, and success of an athletic program.
Considerations for Rankings
1. Success: How successful has the program been across all sports categories (championships, high rankings)?
2. Branding of Program: How big is the identity of the program at the national level?
3. Academic Integrity: What is the quality of life for student-athletes at the given university in regards to academic support and programs?
No. 5: Damon Evans, the University of Georgia
Damon Evans comes in at the fifth spot, largely because of the academic reputation he has built for student-athletes at UGA.
Despite the current recession, Evans and the UGA Athletic Association have been donating about $2 million over the past year or two to the university for academic purposes.
Evans has stiffened academic requirements at UGA, generating one of the highest APRs (Academic Progress Rate) in the nation.
Even though UGA had a bit of a down year, the athletic program still finished second in the SEC for all-around sports success and placed in the top 25 nationally. UGA typically fields great football, equestrian, gymnastics, golf, and tennis teams.
In addition to what UGA is doing academically and athletically, UGA also racks up $81 million in revenues and is consistently in the top five for licensing royalties.
No. 4: Gene Smith, The Ohio State University
Gene Smith comes in at No. 4 mostly because of Ohio State's branding. Ohio State, along with Texas, is arguably the most visible program in the nation.
Smith effectively manages a $100 million-plus budget and nearly 20 varsity programs in men's and women's collegiate athletics.
Ohio State's football team is also one of the most successful programs of all time, and they will continue to be atop the football powerhouses under Smith.
No. 3: Bob Bowlsby, Stanford University
Bob Bowlsby ranks third, notably because of Stanford's success in almost all sports.
Over the past 10 to 15 years, Stanford has won the NACDA Learfield Sports Directors' Cup award almost every year for being the best all-around athletic program in the NCAA.
In addition, Bowlsby manages over 30 varsity teams at one of the most reputable universities in the nation.
No. 2: DeLoss Dodds, the University of Texas at Austin
During his tenure at Texas, the Longhorns have claimed 12 national championships and 82 Big 12 titles. That's almost enough said right there.
Want more icing on the cake? Texas' revenues are a whopping $138 million-plus, and Texas is almost always the No. 1-ranking Collegiate Licensing Company team for licensing royalties, making Texas and Ohio State arguably the most visible programs.
No. 1: Jeremy Foley, the University of Florida
Can you say national championships? Had this list been made to cover the last 20 years, Dodds would have probably been the No. 1 choice. However, in recent history, no athletic program has been better and more visible than the Florida Gators.
Under Urban Meyer, the Gators have won two of the last four national championships, and Billy Donovan led the men's basketball team to consecutive titles in 2006 and 2007.
Florida's athletic program is definitely one of the most visible and does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon in the nation's best conference, the SEC.