FAYET TEVILLE, Ark. — University of Arkansas Deputy Director of Athletics Derita Renee-Ratcliffe Dawkins will serve as the chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee in 2024-25. Dawkins, who has served on the committee since 2020, will serve as vice chair during the 2023-24 season, before ascending to the chair for the 202425 season. Dawkins is the first representative from the University of Arkansas to be selected to serve on this prestigious committee.
“I am deeply honored that my fellow committee members felt me worthy of such an important responsibility,” Dawkins said. “I have approached this commitment and responsibility as an opportunity to honor my mother Nina Ratcliffe’s life and her love of college sports. This appointment would be a wonderful culmination of this meaningful opportunity to serve the industry and to honor my mom. During my three years on the committee, we have made great strides in moving the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament forward as a destination event. I look forward to continuing the upward trajectory we have enjoyed.”
The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee reviews and, when necessary, provide recommendations in the following areas pertaining to administration of the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship: team selection [including seeding, bracketing, NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET), site selection [including first and second rounds, regional round and Women’s Final Four], championship operations and games management, championship misconduct issues and championship official selection and advancement. The Committee is charged with selecting the 32 at-large teams which will join the 32 conference automatic qualifiers that are included in the annual 68-team championship bracket.
The committee elected Dawkins to serve as chair of the committee in 2024-25. Pacific-12 Conference senior associate commissioner for sports management Lisa Peterson will continue as committee chair for the 2023-24 season, with Dawkins serving as vice chair, moving into the chair position the following year.
“Throughout her career, Derita has focused on enhancing opportunities for student-athletes through intercollegiate athletics” Arkansas Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Hunter Yurachek said. “Her passion and commitment to the health and well-being of studentathletes has led her to serve in various leadership roles both on campus, within the Southeastern Conference and nationally. As part of the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee, Derita has worked to enrich and grow the game of women’s basketball. Her selection as chair of the committee is both a prestigious honor and an indication of the confidence her fellow committee members have in her leadership.”
A member of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee since 2020, Dawkins will be the 23rd women’s committee chair in NCAA history. She has more than 20 years of experience in intercollegiate athletics, including five years in a leadership role at Arkansas where she is currently assistant vice chancellor and chief diversity officer, deputy athletics director for student-athlete wellness and senior woman administrator for the department of athletics.
All 12 members of the committee are set to return in 2023-24. In addition to Peterson and Dawkins, committee members are Deneé Barracato, deputy director of athletics at Northwestern University; Jill Bodensteiner, director of athletics at Saint Joseph’s University; Jenny Bramer, executive associate athletics director at San Diego State University; Amanda Braun, athletics director at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Amy Folan, associate vice president and director of athletics at Central Michigan University; Alex Gary, director of athletics at Western Carolina University; Lizzie Gomez, deputy commissioner and senior women’s administrator at the Southland Conference; Josh Heird, director of athletics at the University of Louisville; Jill Shields, deputy director of athletics at Kansas State University; and Lynn Tighe, senior associate athletics director at Villanova University.
Dawkins is in her seventh year with the Razorbacks and serves as the senior woman administrator and is a member of Razorback athletics’ executive and senior staffs. In her role, she oversees the areas of student-athlete wellness, including sports medicine, strength and conditioning, mental health and performance and sports nutrition. She also is the sport administrator for women’s basketball.
Dawkins came to the University of Arkansas from the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) where she spent eight and half years as senior associate athletics director and senior woman administrator (SWA). Prior to UAB, Ratcliffe served in a variety of roles at a number of different institutions, including nearly four years as the director of athletics at Kentucky State University.