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NAAC Announces 2014 Award Winners

May 8, 2014

CLEVELAND, OH -- The National Association for Athletics Compliance (NAAC) has announced its 2014 Award winners, presented by Bluechip Athletic Solutions - Frank Kara Leadership Award - Jennifer Condaras, associate commissioner for compliance & governance, The BIG EAST Conference; Organizational Leadership AwardKevin Lennon, vice president of academic & membership affairs, NCAA; Rising Star Award - Bryan Blair, associate athletics director for compliance, Rice University; and the Division II Excellence Award Molly Belden, associate commissioner, Northeast-10 Conference. The award winners will be honored Monday, June 9 during the NAAC Convention at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, Florida.

"The 2014 candidates for the NAAC awards were excellent and clearly demonstrate the hard work that compliance professionals across the country put into their careers. The Membership and Awards Committee would like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate these outstanding individuals," stated Awards Committee Chair Jody Sykes, senior associate AD/chief compliance officer at the University of Oregon. "We were challenged in picking the best recipient because there were so many fantastic candidates. The Committee would also like to congratulate each of this year's recipients. Each of you is an immense credit to our profession! We look forward to honoring you further at the NAAC Awards Luncheon on June 9 in Orlando."

The Frank Kara Leadership Award is NAAC's most prestigious annual award and is named in honor of former University of Minnesota Director of Compliance, Frank Kara.  Recipients display exceptional leadership and unique vision for compliance initiatives, as well as demonstrating a commitment to furthering the compliance profession through being instrumental in the revitalization of NAAC.

Jennifer Condaras was named Associate Commissioner, Compliance & Governance at the BIG EAST Conference in September 2013. Her primary responsibilities include coordination and administration of the conference's day-to-day compliance services for all 10 member institutions. Condaras provides interpretative support and rules education to member institutions and is the Conference's liaison to the Senior Woman Administrators Committee. Condaras held a similar position at the American Athletic Conference from July 2013 to September 2013.  She was hired in 2005 as an Assistant Commissioner for Compliance by the previous BIG EAST Conference.  Previously, Condaras served as director of compliance at Georgia Tech from 2001-05. Condaras is chair of the NCAA Legislative Review and Interpretations Committee and is active with NAAC and the National Association of Collegiate Women's Administrators.

The Organizational Leadership Award honors organizational leaders who have demonstrated outstanding commitments to promoting compliance within their organizations and on a national level.

Kevin Lennon is a nationally recognized leader in intercollegiate athletics with an emphasis on the academic performance program, rules compliance and integrity initiatives and institutional control and assessment. Lennon has been with the NCAA for 27 years, 16 years as the vice president of academic & membership affairs. Prior to joining the NCAA in 1986, he worked at the University of Notre Dame. After a two-year stint at the NCAA, Kevin served as assistant commissioner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. He returned to the NCAA in 1989 and was promoted to vice president in 1998. Lennon oversees the work of the Academic & Membership Affairs and Student-Athlete Reinstatement staffs. The academic & membership affairs staff is the group the Association seeks for innovative solutions, guidance and expertise regarding institutional control issues, specifically in the areas of rules compliance and academics. He serves as a lead staff member working with the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, the NCAA Division I Leadership Council and the NCAA Division I Committee on Academic Performance on the academic performance and regulatory initiatives and is the primary liaison with the Knight Commission.

The Rising Star Award recognizes young compliance professionals who are considered to be emerging leaders within the compliance profession.

Bryan Blair was named associate athletics director for compliance at Rice University in February 2014. Previously, Blair served as assistant director of compliance services at the University of South Carolina, where he was the primary liaison to four SEC sports providing rules education and interpretations. Blair served as a member of USC's "Championship Culture" strategic planning subcommittee and oversaw the department's compliance efforts related to recruiting, personnel, camps/clinics and educational videos. In 2012, he was chosen for the NCAA Leadership Institute, where he was designated as the 2013 graduation speaker by his peers. In 2011, Blair was named Rice's Compliance Coordinator serving as the liaison to Rice Admissions, as well as, the advisor to the Rice SAAC, which earned the 2011-12 Division I National SAAC "Award of Excellence" for having the nation's top SAAC organization. That year, SAAC created the first "Owls On Stage" student-athlete talent show aimed at closing the perceived gap between students and student-athletes. While at Rice, Blair was also a NAAC Convention Stipend recipient. Before his initial time at Rice, Blair was selected as a NCAA postgraduate intern, serving in Academic & Membership Affairs.  

The Division II Excellence Award is NAAC's most prestigious award for Division II compliance professionals. Recipients display exceptional leadership and unique vision for compliance initiatives, as well as demonstrating a commitment to furthering the compliance profession.

Molly Belden is in her sixth year at the Northeast-10. She was named assistant commissioner in September 2008 and was named associate commissioner in October 2011 and Senior Woman Administrator in January 2013. Belden coordinates the conference's compliance program, manages the NCAA DII Conference grant program and oversees the conference's academic awards program. In addition, she serves as the liaison with Conference constituent groups, including the Athletics' Directors Council, Faculty Athletics Representatives, Senior Woman Administrators, Compliance Coordinators and the Conference SAAC. Belden has served as the DII CCACA Co-Chair and as a member of the DII Field Hockey Committee and the DI Initial Eligibility Waivers Committee.  Currently she serves as a member of the NAAC Membership and Awards Committee and the NACWAA Legislation and Governance Committee. Belden previously served as compliance coordinator at Villanova University, assistant athletics director at Longwood University and compliance assistant at Cornell University.

About NAAC:  NAAC is in its 16th year and serves as the professional and educational association of compliance administrators. For more information on NAAC, please visit www.naaccompliance.com. NAAC is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 49th year. For more information on NACDA and the 12 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com