Commissioner, Southern Conference

The Southern Conference is inviting qualified applicants for the position of Commissioner. 

The Southern Conference consists of nine schools that compete in FCS football and one nonfootball playing member. The Conference sponsors NCAA championship competition in 11 men’s sports, 10 women’s sports and one coeducational sport.

The Southern Conference (SoCon) ranks as the fifth oldest major college conference in continuous operation, having been formed in 1921. The geographical footprint of member schools allows for regional rivalry and easy travel with member institutions located in six contiguous states. The Conference office is located in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The Southern Conference is recognized as a national leader in emphasizing the development of the student athlete and in helping to build lifelong leaders. While Academic excellence has been a significant part of the Southern Conference brand, success on the playing field has been achieved. Long recognized as one the pre-eminent FCS conferences in the country, multiple member schools have not only advanced into the FCS Championship Playoffs but also had major victories against Power 5 programs. This past year the SoCon’s success in men’s basketball was demonstrated by finishing the year as the 11th ranked Division 1 conference in the country as determined by RPI. Other SoCon sports and athletes have competed
successfully on the national stage. 

The Commissioner shall be the Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Officer of the Conference. The Commissioner will report to the President’s Council and work with the Council of Presidents, the Athletic Directors, Faculty Athletic Representatives, Senior Women’s Administrators and Coaches.

The Commissioner will be expected to be a national thought leader who will create the pathway to the Southern Conference’s recognition as the preeminent FCS conference in the country. 

Duties and Responsibilities:
1. Responsible for the management and administration of fiscal affairs, procedures, programs, and personnel necessary to achieve the purposes and goals of the Conference.
2. To serve as the principal enforcement officer for rules and regulations of the Conference.
3. To continue to develop the Conference’s corporate and marketing programs to enhance revenues and reduce Conference expenses.
4. Provide all the services needed for Conference sports competition and conduct the championships and tournaments of the Conference.
5. Responsibility for all membership issues, including expansion of the Conference.
6. To serve as primary liaison to the Council of Presidents.
7. To handle all television and multimedia negotiations in the best interests of the Conference.
8. To provide strategic, long-range planning to achieve the goals of the Conference.
9. To supervise the work of the officials’ coordinators in select championship sports.
10. To supervise the marketing and merchandising programs within the Conference.
11. To properly handle all disciplinary matters within the Conference, including reprimands, suspensions, and proper notification to all affected parties.
12. To serve as primary liaison with both the Finance Committee and Investment Committee to ensure the financial health of the Conference.
13. Responsible for tracking long-term NCAA governance/membership matters, and to analyze how they might affect the Southern Conference.
14. To serve as liaison to the Collegiate Commissioners Association.

Preferred Qualifications and Minimum Requirements:
1. Bachelors’ degree is required; a master’s degree is preferred.
2. Demonstrated experience in marketing and promotional skills (required). Experience in event management preferred.
3. Commitment to NCAA rules and procedures and credibility with NCAA leaders (required).
4. Strong administrative and organizational skills (required).
5. Minimum of five years collegiate athletic administrative experience (or equivalent experience in related field) and ability to accomplish the goals of the Conference (required).
6. Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate effectively in oral and written forms (required).
7. Energy, insight, and enthusiasm to advance the Conference (required).
8. Sensitivity and commitment to gender equity, diversity and minority opportunities, and student-athlete welfare.
9. Experience with media, especially television and digital video(preferred).
10. Experience in managing staff personnel and interacting with Presidents, administrators and other conference personnel.

Application Process:

All Applications must be submitted electronically to the Southern Conference Commissioner Search Committee, c/o Jeff Schemmel, President, College Sports Solutions ( or Dan Walters, Associate
Partner, Buffkin/Baker ( and include a cover letter, resume and up to four references. For full consideration, application materials should be submitted by Friday, April 19, 2019. Confidential review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made. For additional information, please contact Jeff Schemmel or Dan Walters.

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