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INDIANAPOLIS – At the request of Indianapolis sports and community leaders, Indiana Sports Corp will annually present the Tom Jernstedt Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring an administrator whose distinguished professional career has been dedicated to the advancement of Division I men’s basketball.

The award will be presented to individuals who best exemplify the leadership and service demonstrated by Tom Jernstedt during his 38-year tenure at the NCAA, and who have made a meaningful impact on college basketball.

“The community has felt a monumental impact from the contributions of Tom Jernstedt, and we’ve heard from many that want to keep honoring his legacy,” said Jim Morris, Indiana Sports Corp Life Member, Vice Chairman of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, and longtime community leader. “We feel this award will continue to recognize those who represent the character of Tom Jernstedt as a thoughtful, caring, steadfast leader and a steward of the game.”

To be eligible for this award, a person must have dedicated a significant time in their career working in collegiate athletics or in a capacity that supports the mission of the NCAA. Current Division I Men’s Basketball Committee members are ineligible for the award.

The award recipients will be honored at the 2023 Men’s Final Four in Houston, Texas on Monday, April 3 while fans, former colleagues, and friends celebrate the life of Tom Jernstedt - the “Father of the Final Four.”


About Tom Jernstedt
Tom Jernstedt joined the NCAA in 1972 and throughout his career worked behind the scenes to transform the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship to the premier event we know and love today. He served as executive vice president and oversaw the day-to-day operations of March Madness, the expansion of participating teams from 25 to 68 and the selection of larger sites, including domed stadiums, for the Final Four games. Beyond his tournament work, Jernstedt was a passionate leader and administrator whose connection with many impacted countless lives and careers. Many people described him as the type of person to make time for everyone, thoughtful, respectful, likable, and honest.

Throughout his 38-year career, Jernstedt served on many boards of directors and committees that include the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame; United States Olympic Committee; United States-International University Sports Federation; Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association; Federation of International Basketball Association; and the University of Oregon Alumni Association as well as serving as the President of USA Basketball from 2001-2004. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame awarded Jernstedt the John Bunn award in 2001 which is the highest honor given by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame recognizing an individual who has contributed significantly to the sport of basketball. He went on to receive the Distinguished Service Award from the United Sports Academy and the Bill McGowan Leadership Award from the Indiana Convention and Visitors Association in 2007. USA Basketball then awarded him the Edward S. Steitz award in 2009 which recognizes an individual for his or her valuable contributions to international basketball. Jernstedt was eventually inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 and then inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019, and finally inducted into the State of Oregon’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2020. Indiana Sports Corp awarded Jernstedt the National Pathfinder Award posthumously in 2021 during the Men’s Final Four weekend.

About Indiana Sports Corp
Founded in 1979 as the nation’s first sports commission, Indiana Sports Corp is a not-for-profit organization focused on bringing premier sporting events to Indiana to drive economic vitality, facilitate a vibrant community with civic pride and garner positive media attention. Because of this, Indiana Sports Corp is able to provide positive, sports-related opportunities for youth in the community. For more information, please visit

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