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Changes continue in rebuilding CIAA
Commissioner moves to sweep league office
Published Thursday, April 11, 2013 8:47 am
by Bonitta Best, The Triangle Tribune

Changes continue to cycle in the CIAA office. Director of Public Relations Shera White and Associate Commissioner of Governance Monique Smith have left the conference.

Smith, a former St. Paul’s administrator, came to the league as its PR director after a tumultuous series of events. (Long, long story there.) When she was promoted, she hired White in her old position. That was 13 years ago.

For a while, I thought Monique and Shera would ride out the new administration under Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter. But it appears all parties were just trying to get through the CIAA tournament before going their separate ways.

Got to hand it to Carpenter. She was everywhere and in every thing during tourney week. No one could accuse her of sleeping on the job. And many of her initial critics are slowly coming around.

Hey, I was just happy the media got food, although it would be nice if it started a little earlier. Those of us who covered the first day-and-a- half of the tourney had to sneak in our own food ‘cause no way was I paying $10 for a burger half the size of my hand.

Change is always painful, especially when you’re coming into a system that’s been done a certain way for so long. Carpenter laid low for the most part and just took inventory of how things were run. Now stuff is really going to fly.

Another casualty is the dismissal of advertising firm French/West/Vaughan as the conference’s marketing company.  FWV came on board when the CIAA tournament relocated to Raleigh in 1999. While there are some good people in the firm – President David Gwyn comes immediately to mind – there have been some storylines that you could write three books about.

FWV is a typical, predominately white advertising agency that knew little to nothing about how to interact with black people, let alone thousands of ‘em in one place at one time. So it did what most predominately white companies without a clue do – hire a black person to service the black client.

Every few months I’d get introduced to the newest “black” hire for the CIAA. It got to the point where we in the media would begin a pool on how long the latest one would last, especially if the person was a black male.

Other changes being considered for the tournament, according to sources, is extending it back to six nights. The women’s and men’s basketball luncheon would still be held Monday early in the day, but two games would be added that night to take some of the length off a long, long Tuesday.

Once again – at least for those of us covering Tuesday’s games – we started at 11 a.m. and didn’t get out of the arena until well past 1 a.m. – with no food!

By Wednesday, somebody higher up had talked to the game officials and told them to stop calling so many ticky-tack fouls. Of course, no one will admit to it, but it happened.

Another rumor making the rounds is actually reducing the tournament at the arena. Instead, have early-round games on the higher seed’s campus with the winners advancing to play in the Big House.

The idea is not that farfetched since years ago the women’s tourney was actually played at a different site than the men’s. Still, I can’t see teams going for that today. Who doesn’t want an opportunity to stay off campus and play under the bright lights?

In football, the championship game may find new digs. According to my good friend John Dell at The Winston-Salem Journal, Carpenter said she was impressed with Winston-Salem’s Bowman Gray Stadium.

One thing is for sure, Durham County Stadium is much too small for all the media and the presidents’ suites.

If the conference does select Winston, chalk up another reason for fans to hate the Rams.

BONITTA BEST is sports editor at The Triangle Tribune.


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