The University Athletic Association

In 1984 the University Athletic Association (UAA) started as a dream of having a national Division III intercollegiate athletic association that would be based on academic similarities instead of athletic comparisons. With its inaugural season beginning during the 1986-1987 academic year, the UAA has continued to serve as a bold statement of what college athletics can and should be and has been a prominent figure in the NCAA landscape for nearly four decades. Members of the UAA have a shared belief in these main assumptions: academic excellence and athletic excellence are not mutually exclusive, athletic excellence is not to be confused with a win-at-all-costs attitude, and that athletic programs are not considered revenue centers.

All members of the UAA are private institutions, members of the Association of American Universities (AAU) and ranked in the top 60 of national universities by U.S. News & World Report’s Best College Rankings. The UAA’s full-time members are Brandeis University, Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, Emory University, New York University, The University of Chicago, University of Rochester, and Washington University in St. Louis. All current members of the UAA were founding members except Brandeis University, which joined in 1987. As a collective group, these member institutions are among the oldest and most prestigious in the nation.

The UAA currently sponsors competition for 23 sports including 12 sports for men and 11 sports for women. UAA student-athletes have compiled 671 Academic All-Americans, 198 Postgraduate Scholars, 3,253 All-Americans, 256 individual national champions or national players of the year, 44 team national championships, and 33 national runner ups.

The Commissioner

The Commissioner is the principal administrative officer of the UAA and reports directly to the Presidents Council. The Commissioner will work collaboratively with the Presidents Council to develop and execute a strategic plan for the conference that serves and advances its interests and principal goals. The strategic plan will strengthen and enhance the national brand and operational structure of the UAA, building on the strengths of the association in the dramatically changing landscape of college athletics. This will serve as the basis for continued growth, development, and leadership for the UAA.

The Commissioner must have a strategic outlook and strong interpersonal skills necessary to relate effectively with the various UAA external constituencies and its member institutions in dialogue and effective strategy and decision-making required to execute a strategy. The Commissioner will serve as the executive officer and spokesperson of the UAA in its day-to-day operations to ensure that all needs of the Association are met.

Duties and Responsibilities

The primary duties of the Commissioner are both strategic and operational in nature and include the following specific areas of responsibility:

Strategic Leadership and Administration

  • Work with the Presidents Council and other UAA constituents to create clarity for the UAA Mission Statement.
  • Cultivate and execute a Strategic Plan for the continued success of the UAA.
  • Support leaders within each member institution on DEI to ensure a culture of inclusivity.
  • Work with member institutions and the UAA office to increase staffing to best meet current and future needs.
  • Responsible for ensuring that UAA’s policies and procedures are maintained, updated and enforced, and disseminated to the membership in a timely manner.  
  • Interprets and ensures compliance with Title IX, UAA, and NCAA rules, regulations, policies, and procedures.
  • Ensures the efficient and effective scheduling and administration of all UAA activities and functions, including Association competitions during the regular and post-seasons.  
  • Conduct research and compile reports regarding UAA student-athlete academic performance, staff compensation, job responsibilities, and other relevant data.
  • Represent and advocate for the UAA mission, strategy, and operations within the NCAA and Division III Commissioners Council.
  • Accepts other duties and responsibilities as assigned by the Council of Presidents. 

Communication Management

  • Audit foundational UAA documents to be consistent with current communication practices.
  • Execute a communications and marketing plan for the UAA and seek professional consulting expertise in the preparation and implementation of that plan as may be required.

Public Relations

  • Work with member institutions to promote the Association and build brand identity nationally.
  • Cultivate and maintain a strong relationship with media outlets to highlight the academic and athletic success of student-athletes within the UAA.
  • Assume the role of official spokesperson for the UAA and represent the Association in variety of public capacities and settings.
  • Maintain membership in the NCAA, NACDA, CoSIDA, and NADIIIAA. 

Financial Oversight

  • Responsible for the preparation and monitoring of annual operating budgets, and the generation and distribution of all Association funds as approved by the Council of Presidents, including NCAA grant funds and funds to support UAA championships and special events.  
  • Oversee the annual review process and audit of the financial activities of the UAA and reports the financial conditions and activities to the Executive Officers Committee and Council of Presidents. 

Institutional Coordination

  • Supervise the planning, coordinating, and conducting of the inter-institutional business of the UAA, including the planning and conduct of meetings of the Association’s governance committees, sport committees, and affiliated groups (e.g., compliance administrators, sports information directors, athletic trainers, etc.). 
  • Maintain regular communication with the UAA’s athletic direct reports, athletic directors, and senior woman administrators through meetings, conference calls, and travel to the campuses to effectively manage the affairs of the Association. 
  • Maintain communication with other Division III conferences and institutions in support of UAA interests and will ensure that the Association members and Council of Presidents are informed of national issues affecting intercollegiate athletics.
  • Work with member institutions to create a high-quality environment for student-athletes that is equipped with coaches, facilities, and equipment that reflects the excellence of their overall student experience.  
  • Actively engaged in the governance of intercollegiate athletics at the national level. 
  • Purchase appropriate certificates, medals, and trophies awarded by the UAA, and distribute awards not presented at championships to student-athletes in a timely fashion.  

Required Qualifications

  • A bachelor’s degree.
  • Experience in creating, executing, and being accountable for a strategic plan to strengthen the overall success of an organization.
  • A strong work ethic and high degree of personal organization.
  • Possess excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Demonstrated experience as an effective manager of an organization,
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to lead, motivate, and mentor a staff.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Experience in management of operating budgets and financial affairs for an organization, and demonstrated fiduciary experience.
  • Demonstrated leadership experience and accomplishments in an organization of similar or related nature and scope.

Preferred Qualifications

  • An advanced degree.
  • Experience working with a research university and has an appreciation of the integration of intercollegiate athletics into the educational enterprise.
  • Demonstrated capacity to enhance the UAA’s communication strategies through various media platforms and the integration of creative promotional activities.
  • Experience negotiating or managing multi-media agreements and working with corporate sponsorships and marketing agreements.
  • Proven ability to promote and increase brand identity in a proactive and professional manner.
  • Experience in college athletics as a coach or staff in a leadership role.

Application Process:

The UAA invites nominations and applications or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting the UAA. Applications must include a cover letter, resume or curriculum vitae, and list of references. For full consideration, application materials should be submitted to Parker Executive Search’s website by March 25, 2024. Confidential review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made.

For additional information, please contact:

Daniel Parker, Vice President and Managing Director
Grant Higgison, Principal
Xavier Harper, Executive Recruiting Coordinator |  
Parker Executive Search
770-804-1996 ext. 118 | 770-804-1996 ext. 123

The University Athletic Association is committed to the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion of all member institutions’ students, coaches, athletics administrators, faculty, staff, and alumni. This shared commitment is a point of pride for the Association as we strive to build on each of our campuses a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive climate that we believe is an essential component of a community that fosters academic and athletic excellence.

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