Barbour a finalist for Sports Business Journal's Athletic Director of the Year

March 20, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s Sandy Barbour has been selected as a finalist for the Sports Business Journal’s prestigious Athletic Director of the Year for 2017-18.

The dynamic leader of Penn State’s 31-sport athletic program is among five finalists for the honor. The recipient will be announced May 23 at the 11th annual SBJ Sports Business Awards Gala in New York City.

Barbour is joined as an SBJ AD of the Year finalist by: Jeff Bourne (James Madison), Boo Corrigan (Army West Point), Jim Phillips (Northwestern) and Danny White (UCF).

Last year, Barbour was selected by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) as one of four FBS recipients of the prestigious Under Armour AD of the Year Award. She earned the NACDA Athletic Director of the Year honor for the second time.

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 90 percent, winning 78 national championships and 107 Big Ten titles all-time. She oversees a 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.

During the 2017 fall semester, Penn State student-athletes again shattered school academic records, as 26 Nittany Lion teams and 520 student-athletes earned at least a 3.0 grade-point average. A record total of 253 Nittany Lion students posted at least a 3.5 GPA last fall to garner Dean’s List honors (minimum 12 credits). Under Barbour’s leadership, the combined fall GPA was 3.14, tying the school mark.

Starting with the 2014 fall semester, Barbour’s first as Penn State AD, Nittany Lion student-athletes have achieved the seven highest semesters all-time for the number of students earning at least a 3.0 GPA.

In November 2017, the NCAA released its annual national graduation rates study, which revealed that Penn State student-athletes earned a school record-tying Graduation Success Rate of 90 percent, which is an increase of two points from the 2015 report. Nine Nittany Lion teams earned a perfect 100 percent Graduation Success Rate, up from five teams two years ago.

A school record 114 Nittany Lion students graduated following the 2017 spring semester, and 173 student-athletes earned their degrees during the 2017 calendar year. A record-tying 299 student-athletes garnered Academic All-Big Ten accolades in 2015-16 and 2016-17. A total of 14 Nittany Lion student-athletes have earned CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades during her tenure, boosting Penn State’s all-time total to 200, good for No. 4 nationally.

Penn State was ranked No. 2 in the Learfield Directors’ Cup fall 2017 standings and has earned a pair of top-10 finishes in the final standings under Barbour’s guidance. The Nittany Lions have won one NCAA championship and three Big Ten crowns or tournament titles thus far in 2017-18 in wrestling, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.

Five NCAA championships and 23 conference titles

During Barbour’s three-plus years of leading Penn State Athletics, the Nittany Lions have captured a total of five NCAA championships in women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and wrestling and won 18 Big Ten titles and five EIVA crowns for a total of 23 conference championships.

In addition to their academic and athletic achievements, student-athletes have helped support Penn State’s comprehensive excellence by combining to spend more than 6,200 hours involved in community engagement in 2016-17.

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 in 2016-17. 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.

Barbour is a member of the NCAA Football Oversight Committee. Last year, she was selected as one of the inaugural members of the United States Olympic Committee’s Collegiate Advisory Council. The council is charged with bridging the gap between high-contributing collegiate stakeholders and the Olympic movement.

Last Updated March 21, 2018