Leykam appointed NCAA Women’s DI Soccer Committee chair

UP’s Vice President of Athletics makes equity in women’s soccer a priority

By Wilder Isom | September 20, 2022 10:00am

Scott Leykam in 2018

Photo courtesy of University of Portland Athletics

Scott Leykam has been appointed chair of the NCAA Women’s DI Soccer Committee for the 2022-23 season. The DI soccer committee is in charge of team rankings, who gets to play in the NCAA tournament, as well as how to best 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 for Athletics is honored to be appointed as chair. 

“I think it's great to be recognized by peers as someone that is deserving of this role,” Leykam said. 

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

The NCAA Women’s DI Soccer 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 for CalPoly. 

The Soccer Committee meets weekly to discuss current rankings, specific players to watch and to offer inside knowledge on different teams that they may all face. 

“We'll meet on how to judge ties, on things we need to change for the Final Four and trends we're seeing,” Leykam said. 

In the name of keeping things impartial, Leykam can’t be in the room when UP itself is discussed. This goes for all coaches and admin on the committee.

“Whenever we're [UP] talked about in the room, I have to leave …” Leykam said.  “We've had situations in the past where we've had committee members sitting outside for a couple of hours. So when Portland comes up I go out in the hallway until they tell me I could come back in,”

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

Photo courtesy of University of Portland Athletics

His main goal in stepping into this position is to ensure equitable treatment of women’s and men’s soccer, especially when it comes to the tournament at the end of the year. 

“We take very seriously the concerns about the women's basketball final not being equal to the men's basketball final,” Leykam said. “I think we're trying to be very intentional that the women's championships are being treated as well if not better, that's something we've talked about every step of the way to make sure equity is primary, and UP has always put women's soccer in an elite place.” 

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

This is the first year that NCAA soccer is not going to go into overtime during regular season matches. Leykam hopes to reflect the Major League Soccer (MLS) and the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) by making student-athletes' health a priority. 

“It's tough to ask student-athletes to play 120 minutes on Friday and then turn around and do it 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 Pilot’s strong start to the season. 

“Coach French and coach Zabala, who does all our scheduling, being able to play Washington State to play Utah to go to Nebraska, to get three power five teams at home was really hard,” said Leykam. “So I give them a lot of credit. We've got a great start,”

Wilder Isom is the Sports Editor at The Beacon. She can be reached at isomw24@up.edu