Hampton University graduate, Jacque Carpenter, was named the new commissioner of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), the largest athletic conference for African-Americans. The HU alum is the first woman to be named commissioner in the CIAA since its inception. She was named to the position in September.
Thrilled to be leading the 101-year-old organization, and setting a historic and career milestone, Carpenter wasn’t shy to express her sentiment.
“I’ve been mesmerized by the growth of the conference,” says the CIAA’s top lady. “I’ve seen a lot of great people come through here, and when we say ‘CIAA for Life,’ we mean it. Whether you are a member of a CIAA member school, or a former member school, or of a school that isn’t even an HBCU, there’s an appeal about the CIAA that resonates with people.”
As Carpenter continues to make history with her newfound position, she is also gearing up for this year’s CIAA tournament, which is set to return to Charlotte, NC. According to Huffington Post, the collegiate brand “annually generates more than $50 million for the city of Charlotte and immeasurable awareness for the nation’s oldest black college athletic conference.” The conference is one of the largest in existence under the NCAA umbrella, and had an approximate attendance of more than 200,000 people last year.
The Hampton University grad has held a number of positions over a nine-year period with the NCAA including Assistant Director of Championships, Director of Championships and Alliances, Director of the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, and obtained a position with the senior leadership team managing the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.
When speaking of what the NCAA has to offer, Carpenter said, “The NCAA is higher education, but there’s a corporate feel. You’re dealing with millions in TV agreements. You learn to work through the politics, and to be patient with processes. Your presidents, your athletic directors, they are on the ground running things day to day, and learning to engage them in conversation for growth helps. Working with communities, cities, sponsors, it’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun at the same time.”