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.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.