STUDENT VIEW: My Experience as an Intern for CIAA

Written by Diamond Smith

Over the last 12 weeks, I have had the privilege of being an intern in Compliance and Governance for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA). I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed my time so far. However, before I get into my experience, I would like to share a brief story on how I was able to earn the opportunity to work with the organization.

Back in March, I volunteered for the 2015 Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championship at the Hornets’ Nest Tennis Complex here in Charlotte. I always strive to work hard and make a positive lasting impression in everything that I’m involved in. This is extremely important because in this industry, you never know who you may come in contact with, and how that person (or company) can help influence your future. While volunteering, I was informed that the CIAA would be moving its conference office from Hampton, Virginia to Charlotte, North Carolina during the summer and that they are always looking for interns. I instantly made a mental note to be on the lookout around July for information about the fall 2015 internship. In late July, I finally received the email that I had been waiting for and I applied for the internship position. After successfully completing the interview process, I was selected in late August to be one of 3 interns at the CIAA office.

I began my internship on September 8th. I was a bit nervous because I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but they made me feel right at home. Compliance was a part of college athletics that I wasn’t too familiar with, but I embraced the challenge of obtaining a new skill set that I would be able to use and enhance in a career of my choice. . Under the direction of Associate Commissioner for Compliance/Governance, Marcus Grant, I was quickly introduced to the world of compliance. The first order of business in having a true understanding of compliance was to be knowledgeable about the NCAA Division II Handbook. Once mastered, we then moved on to reviewing eligibility checklists for all of the fall sports. This can be somewhat of a time consuming process (especially football, due to roster size), but it is crucial because this can be the difference in knowing whether or not a player is eligible to play on game day, or if the institutions are doing their part in ensuring that no NCAA violations have occurred. This is the major part of my job as an intern at the CIAA. I’ve also had hands-on experience in learning how to compose a fine and/or suspension letter to institutions who are in violation of NCAA and/or CIAA standards.

Also, I’ve learned that part of being an intern for the CIAA means sometimes stepping outside of your assigned position to help someone else in office accomplish whatever task they are seeking to do at that moment. For example, we recently hosted our volleyball and football championships during the second and third weekends in November. I had the opportunity to step in and help the graduate assistants prepare credentials for the CIAA leaders from office and each institution. Now that the fall playing seasons are practically completed, the focus has shifted to preparing to host our biggest event of the year: the 2016 CIAA Basketball Tournament, held during the week of February 23rd-27th at Time Warner Cable Arena located in Uptown Charlotte. The tournament is considered to be the “bread and butter” of the CIAA, and as a result, the intensity has stepped up quite a bit to ensure that this is the best tournament yet!

I will continue my journey as an intern at the CIAA through tournament week in 2016. I look forward to seeing what more this internship has in store! Special thanks to the CIAA for giving me this opportunity. Until next time!

Diamond Smith