Campus News

Barnhart Named to College Football Playoff Selection Committee

Photo provided by UK Athletics
Photo provided by UK Athletics.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 28, 2021) — University of Kentucky Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart has been named to the College Football Playoff (CFP) Selection Committee for a three-year term, as announced Tuesday by Bill Hancock, executive director of the CFP.

Barnhart was added to the selection committee along with Boo Corrigan, athletics director at North Carolina State; Texas AD Chris Del Conte; Will Shields, former All-America lineman at Nebraska; and Joe Taylor, longtime coach and current AD at Virginia Union. 

“Mitch, Boo, Chris, Will and Joe will continue the integrity that has been the committee’s hallmark through our seven seasons,” Hancock said. “Their knowledge, experience and character, along with their love of the sport of college football, will make the transition seamless.”

The five new members will begin their terms in the spring. They replace Joe Castiglione, Ken Hatfield, Ronnie Lott, Todd Stansbury and Scott Stricklin, whose terms have expired.

“It’s a privilege to be invited to join the selection committee,” Barnhart said. “It will be an honor to work with Bill Hancock, the CFP staff, and an outstanding group of people on the selection committee. I look forward to helping with one of the great events in college athletics.”

In being named to the CFP Selection Committee, Barnhart adds to his leadership and impact in college athletics: 

  • He is chair of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee, which is responsible for the administration of the tournament in what is undoubtedly the most challenging year in the history of the event. His term on this committee expires following the 2021 tournament.
  • He is chair of the Southeastern Conference Athletics Directors, now in his fourth year in that role.
  • In his 19th year at Kentucky, he is the longest-termed AD in the Southeastern Conference and the second-longest among all Power 5 schools (only Joe Castiglione at Oklahoma has been AD longer).
  • Barnhart’s leadership was noted in November in an analysis of the SEC by John Talty of, which stated, “In 2020, though, no SEC school carries as much influence as Kentucky.”

Barnhart has served on numerous other committees and boards for the NCAA and the National Association of College Directors of Athletics. Most notably he has worked on the NCAA Division I Council, been chair of the NCAA Competition Oversight Committee and was a member of the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee. He was an original member of the SEC Network Content Committee, which was integral to the launch of the largest new cable channel in television history.

In 2019, Barnhart was named Athletic Director of the Year by the Sports Business Journal. His legacy at UK includes helping develop administrators who have gone on to become athletics directors at nationally prominent universities, including Greg Byrne of Alabama, Mark Coyle at Minnesota, Rob Mullens at Oregon, Scott Stricklin at Florida, John Cohen at Mississippi State, Kevin Saal at Murray State and DeWayne Peevy at DePaul.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.