Inside the conference where women athletic directors outnumber men

Alumni weekend at Delaware State University is a festival of sights and sounds. 

The school is hosting rival North Carolina Central University for a doubleheader between its men’s and women’s basketball teams. Memorial Hall is filled almost to its 1,800 seat capacity, with former students, draped in the customary red and sky blue Hornet colors, band members, majorettes, and cheerleaders. Seasoned alumni with gray hair and canes create a cacophony of cheers and song as the booster club nears its goal of $100,000.

For Alecia Shields-Gadson, however, the pageantry has a bigger point. As athletic director of Delaware State, creating a good time is her job.

Why We Wrote This

Three of every four athletic directors across the NCAA are male. But in one conference, women are the majority. Here’s a look inside a sports revolution.

“That’s the business that we’re in,” she says. “Athletics is one of those unique pieces on a campus where we’re servicing student athletes because we want to bring them that experience, but we’re serving external constituents, the fan base, and your alumni.” 

She points to one tenet of her leadership: Create great customer service. Others might point to another aspect of her leadership: creating a little history.

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