SAA Opens Commissioner Search - Southern Athletic Association Skip To Main Content

Southern Athletic Association

SAA Opens Commissioner Search

2/23/2023 1:29:33 PM

TITLE: Conference Commissioner
REPORTS TO: Council of Presidents
JOB SUMMARY: The Commissioner is the primary administrator of the Conference and is responsible for leading strategy development as well as day-to-day conference operations. The Commissioner serves as a non-voting member of the Board of Directors and an authorized agent of the corporation.   The position works collaboratively with the Council of Presidents and the Athletic Director’s Council, and is an important liaison to the NCAA and other national organizations.  The commissioner also provides leadership and support to other Conference groups (e.g., the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Senior Woman Administrators, Faculty Athletics Representatives, Sports Information Directors, and Athletic Trainers).
The SAA seeks a commissioner with strong leadership and communication skills, an understanding of the national landscape of NCAA Division III athletics, and a passion for building and promoting the achievements of SAA student-athletes and member schools.  The successful candidate will have specific interest in academic institutions similar to those within the Southern Athletic Association. 
The Council of Presidents delegates responsibility to the Commissioner for leading the Conference on strategic issues, managing its resources and financial operations, administering its policies and procedures, convening its Councils, facilitating communication, and initiating plans for continuing improvement.  The commissioner also manages the conference membership process, including identifying opportunities for expansion and facilitating the conference’s review of new member applications.
As its primary financial officer, the Commissioner acts on behalf of the conference to maintain records that are reviewed and approved by the Council of Presidents at their annual winter meetings. The Commissioner has the right to manage the account with all privileges gained as full account holder.
The Constitution, Bylaws and Operating Manuals for the individual sports are the policies and procedures of the Conference. The commissioner shall have the authority to issue rulings on situations in the conference that are either not stated in the Operating Manuals or require intervention to clarify disagreements among member institutions.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; master’s degree or doctorate preferred.
  • Ability to establish broad strategy and oversee related action plans, working with varied constituents and expectations.
  • Commitment to the NCAA Division III philosophy of athletics and insight into the current challenges facing higher education.
  • Extensive experience in collegiate athletics, including experience as an athletics administrator, conference office staff, or NCAA national office staff member.
  • Valid driver’s license and willingness to travel extensively, often on evenings and weekends.

Letters of application should include a resume and the names, mailing addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses of at least three references.  Screening of candidates will begin March 13 and continue until the position is filled.  Materials should be addressed to:

Stephen Briggs, SAA Search Committee Chair
Office of the President
2277 Martha Berry Hwy NW
P.O. Box 490039
Mount Berry, GA 30149-0039
Application materials and other correspondence can be delivered via email to Sylvia Howard at
3 Fold Group is assisting the conference with this search.  Please contact Azure Davey and Leah Kareti for any confidential inquiries or nominations.
  • The Commissioner serves at the pleasure of the Presidents Council, which may discharge the Commissioner for what it determines to be good cause during the contract term.  The Presidents Council may elect not to renew the appointment of the Commissioner upon the expiration of any contract term with or without good cause.
  • The Presidents Council expects that the commissioner live within the general geographic footprint of the SAA’s member schools but does not require a specific location for the conference office.
  • The Presidents Council is committed to offering a competitive salary and benefits package and shall consider compensation increases on an annual basis.
  • The Presidents Council shall provide feedback via the Chair of the Presidents Council regarding the performance of the Commissioner.  The Presidents Council will determine the appropriate length and terms for the Commissioner's Letter of Appointment. 

Internal and External Relations
  • Advise presidents and athletics directors on conference strategy and operations. Promote effective relationships and open communication with and between conference presidents, athletic directors and other key constituents.
  • Mange opportunities and obligations with the NCAA, including reporting rules violations, demographics and sport sponsorship reports, applying for grants, and supporting the nominations process of conference constituents for awards, programs, scholarships, and committee service. Update the presidents and athletics directors on significant NCAA reports and interactions.
  • Represent the conference at regional and national meetings such as the NCAA Convention and Division III Commissioners Association Meetings, staying informed on issues affecting the broad landscape of collegiate sports.
  • Promote the conference brand and celebrate the success of SAA student-athletes with a national audience through overall conference communications strategy and initiatives like the Conference Man and Woman of the Year award.
  • Negotiate and maintain sponsorship agreements with vendors.
  • Oversee all conference correspondence. 
Conference Governance
  • Collaborate with the Chair of the Council of Presidents and the Chair of the Athletic Director’s Council to establish an overall conference vision and align agendas and projects to achieve that vision with consent of the respective councils.  Gather input from other conference stakeholders to inform this process (e.g., student-athletes/SAAC, trainers, coaches, FARs, ADRs, etc.).
  • Provide constituent-relevant education about key issues facing the conference and intercollegiate athletics generally.
  • Mange the conference governance structure, including establishing and distributing meeting agendas, minutes and executive summaries for all conference governance groups. 
  • Update, compile and distribute the conference bylaws, conference handbook, sports operating manuals, directories and calendars. 
  • Serve as chief financial officer of the conference, including developing and dispersing the annual budget as approved by the Council of Presidents, and preparing related reports.
  • Manage accounts receivable and payable functions of the conference including the billing and deposits of annual membership dues.
  • Maintain appropriate financial records of the Conference and facilitate submission of the annual tax return as required.
  • Manage the annual NCAA DIII Strategic Initiatives Grant, including distribution of funds to members and completion of required reports. 
  • Prepare regular season schedules for approval by the Athletic Director’s Council, normally two years in advance of regular season play.
  • Coordinate the distribution of approved schedules via the website and other appropriate avenues.
  • Manage schedule changes on an as-needed basis.
Conference Championships
  • Oversee all conference championships scheduling, operations and awards, and ensure that the championships committee for each sport is adequately supported by the conference staff.
  • Provide support to the host institution (e.g., prepare seeding and bracket information, confirm contest schedule, address concerns pertaining to weather and schedule conflicts).
  • Attend championship events and participate in the awards ceremony at the conclusion of each championship when possible.
  • Process applications for access to NCAA National Championships for team sports with automatic qualifiers.
Rules Interpretations and Education
  • Serve as the SAA Compliance Officer and provide interpretations of NCAA and SAA Rules for member schools.
  • Evaluate and provide rulings on Medical Hardship Waivers.
  • Assist members with compliance of NCAA Transfer and Eligibility rules and provide support in rules violation reporting.
  • Distribute rules updates and hot topics as appropriate to all members.
Office Operations and Other Responsibilities
  • Ensure the office has the necessary technology, equipment and supplies to efficiently carry out conference business.
  • Oversee the Coordinators of officials.
  • Hire, supervise and evaluate the Assistant Commissioner and other office support staff within the guidelines developed and approved by the Council of Presidents.
  • Conduct orientation programs for new conference members.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Chair of the Council of Presidents and/or the Chair of the Athletic Directors Council.