Leykam named NCAA Women’s Football Committee Chair

Scott Leykam has been named chairman of the NCAA Women’s Football Committee for the 2022-23 season. The DI Football Committee is responsible for ranking teams, who plays in the NCAA tournament, as well as how best to judge the weight of a tie.

Leykam, who is currently in his eleventh year at UP and is in his sixth year as vice president of athletics, is honored to be named president.

“I think it’s great to be recognized by peers as someone who deserves this role,” Leykam said.

Leykam began his career in media relations, where he earned the title of Co-Media Relations Director at Stanford University. After his time at Stanford, he was named Senior Associate Commissioner for External Affairs at the West Coast Conference (WCC).

The NCAA Women’s DI Football Committee is made up of 10 people; five coaches and five administrators. Notable people on the committee include the head coach of the Dartmouth women’s soccer team and the associate athletic director of CalPoly.

The Football Committee meets weekly to discuss current rankings, specific players to look out for and provide insider knowledge about different teams everyone can face.

“We’re going to meet to judge the draws, about the things we need to change for the Final Four and the trends we’re seeing,” Leykam said.

In the name of keeping things fair, Leykam cannot be in the room when the UP itself is discussed. This goes for all coaches and committee administrators.

“Whenever we are [UP] spoken in the room, I have to leave…” said Leykam. “We’ve had situations in the past where we’ve had committee members sitting outside for a few hours. So when Portland shows up, I hang out in the hallway until they tell me I can come back.”

Scott Leykam and Megan Rapinoe during their visit to UP in 2015

Photo courtesy of the University of Portland Athletics

His main objective in taking this position is to ensure equal treatment of women’s and men’s football, particularly when it comes to the tournament at the end of the year.

“We take concerns about the women’s basketball final not being the same as the men’s basketball final very seriously,” Leykam said. “I think we’re trying to be very intentional so that women’s leagues are treated as well, if not better, this is something we talk about every step of the way to ensure fairness is paramount, and UP has always put women’s football in an elite place.”

Leykam is also looking to increase the exposure of the women’s tournament (they are currently working closely with ESPN) and increase rest time between games.

This is the first year that NCAA football has not gone into overtime during regular season games. Leykam hopes to mirror Major League Soccer (MLS) and the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), making student-athletes’ health a priority.

“It’s hard to ask student-athletes to play 120 minutes on Friday and then come back and do that on Monday,” Leykam said.

Leykam is looking forward to this season and he credits head coach Michelle French and assistant coach Maite Zabala for the driver’s strong start to the season.

“French coach and coach Zabala, who does all our programming, being able to play Washington State, play Utah and go to Nebraska, getting three teams out of five at home was very difficult,” Leykam said. “So I give them a lot of credit. We got off to a great start.”

Wilder Isom is the sports editor for The Beacon. It can be achieved in isomw24@up.edu

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