Barbour Becomes Second Female FBS AD to Step Down this Summer

Last Updated on June 27, 2014

Cal Stadium
Photo credit: Flickr user John Morgan

Cal will reportedly be announcing today that AD Sandy Barbour, who’s led Cal’s athletic department since 2004, will step down and move to the academic side. She’s the second female athletic director to step down from an FBS athletic department this summer. Georgia State announced in May that AD Cheryl Levick would move into a new role as special assistant to the university president.

That leaves six women at the helm in FBS athletic departments:

Julie Hermann, Rutgers

Debbie Yow, North Carolina State

Lynn Hickey, UT-San Antonio

Kathy Beauregard, Western Michigan

Tina Kunzer-Murphy, UNLV

Heather Lyke, Eastern Michigan

When UNC-Charlotte moves up to FBS next year, Judy Rose will become the seventh female athletic director at the FBS level. You could also perhaps count Chris Plonsky, Director of Women’s Athletics at University of Texas, since Texas has divided the AD role between men’s and women’s sports.

Women might be in the minority at the FBS level, but three of the current female ADs have been hired in the past two years: Hermann at Rutgers, Kunzer-Murphy at UNLV and Lyke at Eastern Michigan.  In 2012, there were only five female athletic directors at the FBS level.

Why do you think there are so few women ADs at the FBS level (and even at the Division I level overall)? Is it discrimination? Do women not want the job? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Thank you to my Twitter followers who helped me track down exactly how many female ADs are currently in FBS!


  • Kristi Dosh

    Kristi A. Dosh is the founder of and has served as a sports business analyst and contributor for outlets such as Forbes, ESPN, SportsBusiness Journal, Bleacher Report, SB Nation and more. She is also the author of a book on the business of college football, Saturday Millionaires. Kristi is a sought-after consultant and speaker on topics related to the business of college sports and a former practicing attorney. Click to learn more

    View all posts

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Mike
    June 27, 2014

    May want to check the facts on UNC-G being FBS.

  • BarneySTJ
    June 30, 2014

    Part of the reason has to be because of the Senior Women’s Administrator position that is available within athletic departments. Women that would be applying for AD positions may find that they are best able to relate to the student athletes (SA’s) that play the same sport that they had, or that share a gender.

    I do not believe I have seen any examples of discrimination hindering the ability of a women to get a job as an AD at the Division I level. The Hermann hire at Rutgers was a good example of an FBS school seeing a women that was a good fit for their situation and hiring her.

    While you raise good questions in regards to the small amount of female athletic directors at the highest level. It’s important to recognize that the decisions for both Levick and Barbour this summer came down not because they were women, but for cause.