Though the position of Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) commissioner was filled as recently as last November, Jacqie Carpenter has had her sights on it for close to a decade.
In one of her first days as an administrator for the NCAA in 2003, the Hampton University alumna was asked about her dream job by her new boss.
“I told them I’d love to be a commissioner in a conference,” she said. “I had worked in the conference and at the institutions, but when I went to the NCAA, I got to see it from another perspective. I realized that although I loved working on the campus, I was more interested in working with a larger group of administrators.”
Little did she know, less than a decade later she would be named the conference’s first full-time female commissioner. Carpenter was hired in August and assumed her duties as head of the nation’s oldest HBCU conference Sept. 4.
“It’s humbling,” Carpenter said of her historic appointment. “We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us as a staff. Right now we’re trying to evaluate where we are and get to where we need to be, but I’m humbled to be in this position.”
Prior to being hired as commissioner, Carpenter worked in several capacities within the NCAA. She served as director of Championships and Alliances, director of the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship and on the leadership team of the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.
Dr. Mickey L. Burnim, chairman of the CIAA Board of Directors, confirmed that Carpenter’s experience working within the NCAA definitely stood out on her resume.
“She is a very talented athletics leader who brings rich and varied experience and skills from years at the NCAA,” Burnim said. “We welcome her tremendous enthusiasm for the future of the CIAA. These are the principal reasons that the board chose her to lead our conference to a higher level of excellence.”
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The start of football season is a little over two months away, but three HBCU teams already know they won’t be participating in the 2012 postseason. Hampton, North Carolina A&T and Texas Southern have all been declared ineligible for the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs as a result of poor marks on the Academic Progress Rate requirements.
Hampton was levied with a Level One penalty, which will result in the loss of four hours of practice time per week. By contrast, A&T was hit with Level Three penalties which could involve restrictions on financial aid and recruiting as well as a multi-year post season ban, in addition to the aforementioned practice sanctions.
The APR is calculated yearly based off of eligibility and retention of student athletes over a four-year period.
This is a blow for both programs who are looking to climb their way back to the top of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Hampton finished fifth in the conference last year (7-4 overall, 5-3 MEAC) and was hoping to make a run at the post season for the first time since winning the MEAC in 2006. A&T finished eighth in the eleven team conference (5-6, 4-4) and has not captured the conference crown since 2003. For the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s Texas Southern, the penalty comes as a side-effect of the team’s first-ever SWAC Title in 2012.
Obviously, all athletic departments are promising improvements. Hampton President William Harvey, who coincidentally is on the NCAA’s Board of Directors, expressed confidence in his school’s ability to rise to the challenge.
“We need to make sure that Hampton’s football program will meet the NCAA academic standards in a very short period of time, just as all of our other men’s and women’s athletic programs already do.
“We’re not satisfied with where we are,” said A&T Athletic Director Earl Hilton. “The lost hours will be used to make sure we’re progressing academically. Our goal is to play postseason football routinely, and to see the members of those championship teams receive undergraduate and graduate degrees.”