Barbour No. 13 on Forbes listing of 'Most Powerful Women in Sports in the U.S.'

April 06, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour has again been recognized as one of the nation’s premier sports executives with her inclusion in the Forbes compilation of the "Most Powerful Women in Sports in the U.S."

The leader of the Nittany Lions’ 31-sport program, Barbour is No. 13 in the Forbes listing of the Top 30 Most Powerful Women in Sports. She is among four women listed who work primarily in intercollegiate athletics. Barbour is the only athletic director (AD) listed, ranking No. 2 overall among women who work full-time in college sports.

Forbes said that Barbour "has developed a reputation for being one of the most forward thinking administrators in all of college sports."

Condoleezza Rice, Serena Williams, Val Ackerman, Billie Jean King, Jeanie Buss, Becky Hammon, Lesa France Kennedy, Jessica Mendoza and Joni Comstock are among the women who joined Barbour on the distinguished list.

In December 2015, Forbes also selected Barbour among its "Top 25 Most Powerful People in College Sports." Barbour, who was ranked No. 24, joined Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman as the female executives who were recognized by Forbes.

Barbour recently was selected as a finalist for the Sports Business Journal’s prestigious Athletic Director of the Year for 2017-18. Last year, she was named 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 ADOY 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 (GPA). 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 (GSR) 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 is ranked No. 2 in the Learfield Directors’ Cup initial winter 2018 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 under Barbour

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.

A native of Annapolis, Maryland, and a Wake Forest graduate and student-athlete, 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 (USOC) Collegiate Advisory Council. The CAC is charged with bridging the gap between high-contributing collegiate stakeholders and the Olympic Movement.

Forbes assembled a panel of eight individuals who have first-hand insight and knowledge of sport’s top female movers and shakers to determine the rankings of the Most Powerful Women in Sports in the U.S.

According to Forbes, the panelists were asked to consider the following when nominating candidates for the list: quantitative metrics; sphere of influence; and impact. Quantitative metrics related to specific measurable criteria, such as organizational revenues the candidate is in charge of, as well as measurable career accomplishments (sales figures, employees managed, etc.). "Sphere of influence" asked panelists to take into consideration whether the candidate has influence outside her specific company or vertical, and whether she touches multiple areas of the sports industry. Finally, "impact" relates to how actively and successfully the individual wields her power within her organization or brand, her sector and the global stage.

Last Updated April 06, 2018