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Volume 21 No. 2
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Game Changers: Jacqie Carpenter

Beach time is a nice break for Carpenter and her daughter, Samone Marie.
Organizational Drivers
Jacqie Carpenter
CIAA | Commissioner

fter completing her first year as commissioner of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, Jacqie Carpenter is pleased with the stability and cohesion the past 12 months have brought. “We’re just touching the surface, but in the first year I feel we’ve been able to set a foundation and a ground on how we want to move forward this upcoming year,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter spent nine years at the NCAA, earning the role of director of championships and alliances, before taking over leadership at the conference of historically black colleges and universities. Through enhancing the CIAA’s championships and developing the CIAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee leadership programs, all while keeping the conference within its financial means, Carpenter feels the conference is moving in a direction that can better support its student athletes, an area she considers her main focus. “I think [the student athletes] can see and feel that there’s more of a focus on them,” she said.

Under Carpenter’s leadership, the CIAA re-evaluated contracts and agreements and scaled down certain expenses, ultimately cutting $1 million from the budget and ending the year without a deficit after several years of financial challenges. The conference also underwent a rebranding effort, which saw its logo changed in January. But Carpenter is mindful of the CIAA’s century-long history, as well. “This conference is 101 years old,” she said. “There’s a lot of history surrounding it, so as we move forward, we want to continue to tell those stories and make sure people understand the history of what the CIAA is about.”

— Anna Hrushka

  • Person who had the biggest influence on your career in sports: James Battle, past director of athletics at Virginia Union University. He was the first to give me an opportunity to enter the field of intercollegiate athletics.
  • Woman in sports business you’d most like to meet: Laurel Richie. I am impressed with her background and career path in serving in the corporate world, but also in the community. She is the first black woman to run a professional sports league, and I am the first black woman to serve as full-time appointed commissioner.
  • Best advice you’ve received: Trust and keep God first in everything you do. (From my mother, Eunice McWilliams, 1946-2007.)

“Jacqie is a role model in every sense of the word. She feels a deep sense of responsibility to teach and mentor, and has positively impacted countless young professionals in this business.”

— Jeanne Boyd | Managing director | NCAA men’s basketball championships