Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour was ranked No. 11 on the Forbes list of most powerful women in sports. She is the second highest among those involved in collegiate athletics, and beat out some very notable names including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, professional tennis player Maria Sharapova, and NASCAR driver Danica Patrick. Forbes made the rankings by consulting with eight individuals who have experience, knowledge, and insight into the world of women in sports.
Barbour came to Penn State from the University of California, bringing with her a Masters education and 30 years of experience. She directs the school’s 31 varsity programs that contain approximately 850 student-athletes and an Intercollegiate Athletics staff of more than 300. With Penn State being one of the largest schools in the country, Barbour has an immense amount of influence within the NCAA. She is currently one of three female Athletic Directors in the nation and has begun to look for ways to improve the institution’s athletic programs.
Barbour’s current big project is implementing her vision of how a schools’ athletic department should look, and she mapped out a strategic plan in her last town hall meeting. There, she talked about a five-step process that will help to create the best environment for student-athletes and fans at the lowest possible cost. This could include renovations of facilities ranging from the McCoy Natatorium to Beaver Stadium, among some other progressive ideas she has in store for Penn State athletics. Forbes recognizes that Barbour is part of an elite group of women, and in an industry traditionally dominated by men, she is at the forefront in bridging the gender gap within the world of sports.