Open Announce

UNM's Janice Ruggiero Selected to the NCAA DI WBB Committee for 2021-22

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.– With the move of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee to 12 members in 2021-22, it was announced on Thursday that two existing members will have their terms extended for one year, while three new committee members will be added for the coming season.

Of significance, New Mexico’s Deputy Director of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrator Janice Ruggiero is among the newest committee members.

“I am so excited and honored to be chosen to the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee,” stated Ruggiero. “Being a former women’s basketball student-athlete and coach, I have an immense love for the game and a want to grow the game. There is no better committee at the NCAA to help grow women’s basketball.”

Ruggiero has over 31 years of experience in college athletics and has in the past served on several NCAA committees, including as a member of the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee from 2002-04, as a member of the Legislative Council from 2008-2014, as a member of the Women’s Basketball Rules Committee from 2011-2014, and as a member of the Women’s Basketball Oversite Committee from 2015 -2018.  She was also named as one of the top 10 Senior Woman Administrators by College AD in February 2015. Ruggiero has held the title of SWA since 2000 and has sport oversight for women’s basketball at UNM among other duties.

Further, Ruggiero was a member of the UNM women’s basketball team as both a player and a coach. She played for the Lobos from 1984-87 until the program was discontinued, then transferred to the University of Hawai’i for her senior season. Ruggiero was an assistant coach at UNM after the program’s reinstatement from 1991-93.

Ruggiero will join the committee on September 1, 2021 for a five-year term. The committee oversees site selection, selecting teams for the NCAA Tournament and carries out the NCAA Tournament, among other tasks.

Also announced was the approved one-year extensions for committee chair, Nina King, deputy athletics director and chief of staff at Duke University and committee member Debbie Richardson, senior associate commissioner of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Both will continue with the committee through Aug. 31, 2022.  Joining Ruggiero as new members are Amanda Braun, athletics director at Milwaukee, and Lynn Tighe, senior associate athletics director and senior woman administrator at Villanova.

Per the release from the NCAA, “We are thrilled that Nina and Debbie were able to be extended for the coming year, their experience and leadership of the committee have been crucial and to get them to serve for another year will be extremely helpful for a committee with so many new members,” said Lynn Holzman, NCAA vice president of women’s basketball. “Amanda, Janice and Lynn bring a combined 80-plus years of experience with them to the committee and we are ecstatic to welcome them to what will be a dynamic 12-member committee in 2021-22. We also want to thank Rhonda Lundin Bennett for assisting the committee this year. Her recent experience with the committee and knowledge of selections contributed to our success and we are forever grateful for her willingness to re-join the committee for this past year.”

The nominations were vetted by the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee and endorsed by the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee.

Other members of the committee for 2021-22 will include Deneé Barracato, deputy director of athletics at Northwestern; Greg Burke, director of athletics at Northwestern State; Beth Goetz, director of athletics at Ball State; Kurt McGuffin, director of intercollegiate athletics at UT Martin; Lisa Peterson, deputy athletics director at Oregon; Derita Ratcliffe Dawkins, deputy athletics director at Arkansas and Jill Shields, deputy athletics director at Kansas State.

In January of 2021 the Division I Council adopted the proposal to expand the composition of the Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Committees from 10 to 12 members in 2021-22. Both committees will consist of one member selected from each of the five autonomy conferences and three members selected from the seven highest-ranked nonautonomy conferences based on basketball success. The remaining four members will be selected from the 20 other conferences.