LEXINGTON — Mitch Barnhart is set to become chairman of one of the most influential posts in the NCAA.
The University of Kentucky athletics director was named chairman of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee for the 2020-21 season. Barnhart will serve as vice chairman this year, alongside Duke Athletics Director Kevin White, who will serve as chairman of the committee for the upcoming season.
“Being asked to serve in this role by my wonderful colleagues on this committee is one of the highest honors I’ve ever received,” Barnhart said. “The 10 of us carry a huge responsibility, not just with the selection, seeding and bracketing of teams each year, which draws the greatest amount of attention, but also as a group charged with working with other constituents to manage the health of the sport of college basketball. It’s an incredible challenge and one we will continue to take very seriously.”
Barnhart and White are joined on the committee by Craig Thompson, the commissioner of the Mountain West Conference, Jim Phillips, the director of athletics at Northwestern University; Tom Burnett, the commissioner of the Southland Conference; Bernadette McGlade, the commissioner of the Atlantic 10 Conference; Chris Reynolds, the director of athletics at Bradley University; Mike O’Brien, the director of athletics at University of Toledo; Charles McClelland, the commissioner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference; and Jamie Pollard, the director of athletics at Iowa State University. Current chair Bernard Muir of Stanford University and Janet Cone, the director of athletics at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, will rotate off the committee on September 1.
Barnhart is the third Kentucky athletics director to chair the committee. C.M. Newton and Bernie Shively. Entering his 18th season at Kentucky, Barnhart is an experienced leader in college athletics, both at the national and conference levels. He has previously served on the NCAA Division I Council, as chair of the NCAA Competition Oversight Committee and as a member of the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee, in addition to several other leadership groups. Barnhart, now the longest-tenured athletics director in the conference, was named chair of the SEC Athletics Directors in 2017.
The four commissioners for the College Basketball Academy sites were recently chosen by the NCAA.
The East Region will be led by Rhode Island coach Al Skinner, Gary Waters (Kent State) will lead the Midwest Region camp, Tim Miles (North Dakota State) will be in charge of the South Region and Steve Levin will oversee the West Region camp.
“The commissioners were selected for their diverse experiences and ability to help prepare these prospects for what they will experience as student-athletes on Division I campuses. We are very fortunate to have four well-respected head coaches who are passionate about the development of young players,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball.
The academies were developed in response to NCAA reforms in college basketball, the academies are designed to supplement existing recruiting opportunities while giving recruits a glimpse of what they can anticipate as a college student. In addition to basketball skills instruction, recruits and their parents or guardians will participate in educational sessions about the academic eligibility process, and college experience life-skills programming
Two four-day sessions will occur at each of the four locations. The first session will be July 22-25, and the second will be July 25-28. Invitations have been sent to 1,600 rising high school seniors, juniors and sophomores. Travel expenses for each participant and one parent or guardian will be provided by the NCAA.
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.