Barbour among Sports Business Journal’s Ad of the Year finalists


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania – Penn State Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour was named as one of five nominees for Sports Business Journal’s AD Sports Business of the Year Award. This is the third time Barbour has been a finalist for the award in his career and the second time at Penn State (2009 and 2018).

The 15thand The annual Sports Business Awards, which recognize excellence over the past year, will be presented live on Wednesday, May 18 at the New York Marriott Marquis Time Square.

Barbour, who announced his retirement on March 16, runs one of the most comprehensive and successful sports programs in the country, overseeing an extensive program that supports approximately 800 student-athletes in 31 sports (16 men/15 women). Penn State’s 31 programs are tied for fourth among all institutions in the Football Bowl subdivision.

During Barbour’s tenure, Nittany Lion student-athletes consistently broke various academic records, with 32 earning CoSIDA Academic All-America honors, including two-time CoSIDA Women’s Soccer Academic All-American of the Year, Kerry Abello. Penn State has won six NCAA championships, an NIT championship, and 39 conference titles (31 Big Ten) and played in all three New Year’s Six Bowls under his leadership.

Barbour has also been a leader on the national stage, currently serving as Chairman of the NCAA Football Oversight Committee and the NCAA Division I Board, in addition to serving on the NCAA Constitutional Committee and as as co-chair of the Big Ten’s return to competition. Intervention force.

Penn State Athletics Achievements in 2020-21


  • Penn State-record NCAA graduation rate (GSR) of 92%.
  • 10 teams achieved a perfect success rate of 100%.
  • 130 student-athletes graduated at the end of the spring semester 2021 (second highest in the history of the department).
  • 162 student-athletes graduated in calendar year 2021.
  • Nine CoSIDA Academic All-Americans
  • Two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year (Kerry Abello, women’s soccer).
  • School record 185 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars in 2016-17 (3.7 GPA and one winner).
  • A record 446 student-athletes earned All-Big Ten academic honors in 2020-21 (3.0 GPA and one winning letter).
  • A record 131 student-athletes earned Fall 2021 All-Big Ten Academic Honors (3.0 GPA)
  • All 31 teams posted a team GPA of 3.0 or better during the fall and spring 2021 semesters.
  • 83% of student-athletes achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the Spring 2021 semester.
  • Spring semester 682 student-athletes posted at least a 3.0 GPA during the spring semester 2021.
  • Spring Semester 299 student-athletes earned at least a 3.5 GPA during the 2021 spring semester.
  • Penn State student-athletes average more than 6,000 hours of community service per year.


  • Penn State has had five individual NCAA national champions in 2021.
  • The Nittany Lions finished second in their respective NCAA championships in wrestling and fencing.
  • In calendar year 2021, the Nittany Lions won conference championships or tournament titles in: Women’s Soccer (Big Ten; Spring 2021), Wrestling (Big Ten), Women’s Hockey (CHA), men’s volleyball (EIVA regular season and tournament), men’s soccer (Big Ten; fall 2021).
  • Penn State was No. 5 in the final standings for the 2021 Fall Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup.
  • Penn State’s seven 2021 fall sports have qualified for the playoffs (NCAA or bowl).
  • One of two universities to reach the 2021 NCAA Tournament in field hockey, men’s soccer, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.


  • Women’s soccer student-athlete Kerry Abello was the 2020 and 2021 CoSIDA Women’s Soccer Academic All-American of the Year (2020 award selected in summer 2021 due to COVID spring season).
  • Jeff Cook named 2021 Big Ten Men’s Soccer Coach of the Year.
  • Four current coaches participated in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as assistant coaches (Erica Dambach; American women’s soccer) and personal trainers (Cael Sanderson, Cody Sanderson, Casey Cunningham; wrestling), while involving a current student-athlete (Gabe Castano; Mexico swimming and diving). Additionally, one coach and one staff member will attend the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics as a team scout (Allison Coomey; women’s hockey in the United States) and video coach (Alex Dawes; American men’s hockey).
  • Strategic Communications Unit selected as the FWAA Super 11 department for the 2020 season (announced June 2021).
  • The marketing department won a NACMA Gold Medal for Best Virtual/In-Person Presence Promotion for its virtual tailgate.


  • In the 2021 calendar year, Barbour hired a men’s basketball head coach and a women’s volleyball head coach.
  • The hiring of Micah Shrewsberry and the extension of the football head coach james franklin makes Penn State the only Power 5 program to have a female AD and African American head coaches in men’s football and basketball.
  • Barbour was instrumental in creating the STATEment program as an educational program for student-athletes regarding name, image and likeness.
  • Over the past year, Barbour has integrated creative video services and ticketing operations to create a more cohesive environment, while achieving budget savings.
  • Following a delay due to the pandemic, a complete renovation of the men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms, weight room and sports medicine was completed in fall 2021 (over $3.6 million raised) .
  • His fundraising efforts were instrumental in finding donors for improvements to the Lasch football building to support the health and safety of student-athletes, including the expansion of the Lasch’s weight room. team, the sports medicine facility, a student-athlete development suite to house the “Fifth Neighborhood” program, and an upgraded entrance to the building.
  • The department has received approval for a field hockey stadium construction project, which will include the addition of a press box, locker rooms, restrooms, concessions and a club area (more of $7.5 million raised).
  • Launch of a conceptual study of the Beaver stadium with Populous. The study will review and assess current and upcoming major maintenance projects, as well as investigate retrofit options to improve fan comfort and provide a greater variety of amenities to meet the changing needs of student-athletes, fans and the campus community.
  • Worked with the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau to create the Happy Valley Sports and Entertainment Sports Commission. The group will launch a study of the economic impact of sport on the Center Region and will also seek additional opportunities to bring sporting events and competitions to the region.

* – alternative notation used during the 2020-21 academic year due to COVID.

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