John Cunningham became the Athletic Director at University of Cincinnati in December 2019 and is now leading the department into the Big 12 Conference. Cunningham talks about his compliance background fundamentally preparing him to become an AD from working directly with coaches in all sports and understanding the ins-and-outs of legislation and changes the industry is currently experiencing. He talks about the challenges of being a downtown institution competing with professional sports in the entertainment business and how joining the Big 12 will help with that. Cunningham acknowledges the department was already undergoing rapid changes to facilities and investments before his arrival but also shares some changes ahead to enhance facility projects. The conversation ends with advice to prospective ADs and how they need to educate themselves on the industry changes because others at the institution probably won’t know those things and will expect you to explain it. And prospective ADs also need to maintain perspective and appreciation for things outside of sports that are continuing to shape our country and world.
SPECIAL ISSUE Call for Proposals: The Sports Innovation Journal, published by the IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute, is seeking commentary and empirical research submissions for a special issue on the changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics and the NCAA governance model.
The questions/topics show as chapters in the video above and separately linked with timestamp below:
- 0:45 Institutional Profile
- 2:48 Operating in a Busy City
- 6:15 Compliance Skillset for the AD Chair
- 8:45 Moving from Day-to-Day Compliance to Administration
- 12:44 Previous Power 5 Experience Helps Heading into Big 12
- 14:20 Long Runway to the Big 12 for Improving Facilities
- 18:20 Financial Considerations Going from Group of 5 to Big 12
- 20:05 Becoming an AD at a School Already Experiencing Rapid Growth
- 23:12 Future ADs Need to Understand Our Industry & Keep a Bigger Global Perspective