Sandy Barbour named to U.S. Olympic Committee Collegiate Advisory Council

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour has been selected as one of the inaugural members of the United States Olympic Committee’s Collegiate Advisory Council.

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) today announced the formation of the Collegiate Advisory Council to guide and strengthen Olympic sport programming at the collegiate level. The 11-member council is the first of its kind and represents the latest step taken by the USOC to increase collaboration with NCAA member institutions and conferences to elevate national engagement and support of Olympic sport opportunities.

Chaired by Kevin White, USOC board member, and vice president and director of athletics at Duke University, the CAC is charged with bridging the gap between high-contributing collegiate stakeholders and the Olympic Movement.

“We understand how unique and vitally important our American collegiate athletics system is to both higher education and the Olympic Movement, which is why increased collaboration is needed to sustain and elevate this system together,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “We are eager to map a course to work directly with collegiate leaders to support elite student-athlete opportunities on campus and within our national teams.”

The CAC is comprised of collegiate administrators who have personally advocated for broad-based Olympic sport programming at the collegiate level and represent institutions that have historically contributed to Team USA's success at the Olympic Games. Council members include:

  • Sandy Barbour, Pennsylvania State University athletic director
  • Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 Conference commissioner
  • Greg Byrne, University of Alabama athletic director
  • Jay Jacobs, Auburn University athletic director
  • Bernard Muir, Stanford University athletic director
  • Rob Mullens, University of Oregon athletic director
  • Chris Plonsky, University of Texas director of women’s athletics
  • Gene Smith, The Ohio State University senior vice president and athletic director
  • Scott Stricklin, University of Florida athletic director
  • Kevin White, Duke University vice president and athletic director
  • Stan Wilcox, Florida State University vice president and athletic director

Collegiate athletics are critical to Team USA’s success with nearly 80 percent of 2016 U.S. Olympians — and 85 percent of American medalists — having collegiate ties.

The council convened last week in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to discuss current opportunities in the collegiate landscape. The group plans to outline key objectives and future course of engagement by the end of the year.

Barbour attended the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil for several days to support former and current Penn State student-athletes. Nittany Lion students delivered a record-setting performance in Rio, with eight Penn Staters earning medals in five competitions to break the school mark set in 1924. Penn State was tied for No. 8 nationally in Rio Olympics student-athlete medalists according to data from the NCAA.

The Nittany Lions and Indiana tied for the Big Ten Conference lead with eight medals in 2016 and were tied for No. 8 among all U.S. colleges and universities. The Nittany Lions’ eight different student-athlete medal winners were the most in the Big Ten. Penn State sent a school record contingent of 25 to the Rio Olympics.

Leader of premier athletic department in academic, athletic and community achievement

Barbour directs one of the nation’s most comprehensive and successful athletic programs that boasts an NCAA Graduation Success Rate of 89 percent, winning 77 national championships and 104 Big Ten titles all-time. She oversees broad-based program that supports approximately 800 student-athletes in 31 sports (16 men’s/15 women’s) and an Intercollegiate Athletics staff of approximately 300 whose daily mission is preparing students for a lifetime of impact. Penn State’s 31 programs are tied for fourth-highest among all 130 FBS institutions.

In June 2017, Barbour was recognized with the Under Armour AD of the Year Award by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). She was among four Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Athletic Directors to receive the honor.

Penn State student-athletes broke several academic records in 2016-17, including earning a 3.14 combined grade-point average during the spring semester. A school record 66 percent of all active student-athletes earned at least a 3.0 GPA last spring. A total of 159 Nittany Lion students earned their degrees last year, including 114 in May, a school record in the spring semester. Penn State student-athletes participated in more than 6,200 hours of community engagement last year.

Under Barbour’s leadership, Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics was ranked No. 8 among the nation’s 65 Autonomy Five institutions in 2016-17, according to Yahoo! Sports. The Nittany Lions won the NCAA Wrestling Championship, seven Big Ten titles and two EIVA crowns last year. Penn State has finished in the Directors’ Cup Top 10 four times in the past five years (No. 8 in 2016-17) and is one of only nine programs nationwide to have finished in the Top 25 in all 24 Learfield Directors' Cup final standings.

The Nittany Lions have started the 2017-18 academic year in strong fashion, with five teams ranked in the Top 10 this week, including the No. 1 ranked women’s volleyball and No. 2 football programs. The field hockey team is No. 6, women’s cross country and women’s soccer are ranked No. 9 and men’s hockey is No. 11. Additionally, Penn State’s two-time defending NCAA Wrestling Champions are ranked No. 1 in the pre-season polls.

Last Updated October 20, 2017