CIAA Details Title IX Initiatives for the 2023 CIAA Basketball Tournament, including Friday’s Title IX Day

CIAA also announces on-air talent and designated VIP Title IX Trailblazers

CHARLOTTE, NC (February 17, 2023) — The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), the nation’s oldest historically Black athletic conference, remains committed to celebrating and acknowledging the 50th Anniversary of Title IX. The CIAA’s commitment to Title IX will be on display during the 2023 CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament, which will be held from February 21-25 at the CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, MD.

CIAA also announces on-air talent and designated VIP Title IX Trailblazers

In addition to increased Title IX signage, visibility, and public address announcements, the conference will showcase several Title IX initiatives during its annual tournament as part of a year-long focus on the federal civil rights law that helped unlock access to educational and athletic opportunities in male-dominated spaces and industries.

In December, the CIAA inducted an all-women’s Hall of Fame class for 2023 in honor of Title IX. In January, the conference unveiled its first set of CIAA Trailblazers and introduced a dedicated Title IX Page on its website.

These initiatives during the CIAA Basketball Tournament represent a prime opportunity to celebrate the women past, present, and future that has helped shape the conference into what it is today.

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Championship Game 

Breaking from industry standards, Saturday’s championship doubleheader will feature the men’s championship contest at 1 p.m., followed by the women’s basketball championship in the primetime slot of 4 p.m. in CFG Bank Arena on February 25. Both championships will be televised live on ESPN U. (The other 20 games of the CIAA Tournament will be televised live on ESPN+.)

On-Air Talent 

Courtney Tate, Lawrencia Moten, Terrika Foster-Brasby, Angel Gray, and Thai Floyd have been identified to provide on-air talent for the 2023 CIAA Basketball Tournament.

Tate and Moten will be providing play-by-play and color commentary for six games on Tuesday and Wednesday of the tournament, including four women’s contests and two men’s games.

ESPN’s Foster-Brasby and Gray will be providing play-by-play and color commentary for the remaining women’s games from Thursday to Saturday’s women’s championship game.

Floyd will be serving as a sideline reporter during the tournament.

Title IX Day 

The CIAA has designated Friday, February 24 as Title IX Day during the Semifinals of the 2023 CIAA Basketball Tournament. The John B. McLendon Hall of Fame Breakfast, celebrating the four newly inducted Hall of Famers and the national championship-winning Hampton women’s basketball team, will be held at 8 a.m. Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams-Parker will be pinning the 2023 Hall of Fame Class at center court during halftime of the men’s semifinals game at 6 p.m.

Between the 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. semifinals contests Friday, the CIAA will be hosting a Title IX Trailblazer Reception sponsored by the NCAA. The reception is by invitation only. Following the reception, there will be a center court recognition of designated Title IX Trailblazers, CIAA Office women staff, and CIAA institution women administrators and coaches at halftime of the 8 p.m. game.

VIP Designated Title IX Trailblazers 

Five CIAA Title IX Trailblazers have been identified to represent the 50 designated trailblazers.

Dianthia Ford-Kee, Monique Smith, Sonja Stills, Delores “Dee” Todd, and Ingrid Wicker-McCree, are the VIP Designated CIAA Title IX Trailblazers during the CIAA Tournament. The quartet of Ford-Kee, Smith, Todd, and Wicker-McCree will be conducting televised halftime interviews throughout the team. The quartet will also be serving as honorary coaches for the two women’s semifinal games.

“These five women—like so many others on our Trailblazers’ list, have crafted a legacy built on making the world of athletics a more welcoming and inviting place for women,” said Tonia Walker, CIAA Senior Associate Commissioner for Strategic Communications. “Title IX helped get them in the door and since then, they have consistently broken-down walls and barriers while still managing to provide opportunities to a future generation.”

Ford-Kee served as the Director of Athletics at Lincoln (PA) University, navigating the Lions’ return to the CIAA. A member of the CIAA’s Hall of Fame, Ford-Kee is also an esteemed softball and volleyball coach. She won four CIAA championships in softball and two titles in volleyball.

Smith has more than 30 years of experience in athletic administration, including 13 as an Associate Commissioner for the CIAA. As a member of the conference’s senior leadership, Smith provided guidance in governance, membership education, compliance, championships, public relations, special projects, and events. Smith is an adjunct professor at Hampton University, and she is the founder of Seeds of Empowerment, which provides leadership development workshops, NCAA compliance workshops, and Title IX workshops for students, professionals, and universities.

Stills started in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) in 2002, starting out as a Director of Compliance. She was named Senior Associate Commissioner for Administration and Compliance in July 2012. She was also the conference’s Senior Woman Administrator from 2006 to 2022. On January 1, 2022, Stills made history by becoming the first female commissioner of a Division I HBCU Conference, which she did when she was named Commissioner of the MEAC.

Todd was the first female and minority to serve as Assistant Commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). She worked in the ACC from 1988 to 2005 before becoming the first African American female to be named Director of Athletics at North Carolina A&T. She was instrumental in implementing a world-class track and field facility at North Carolina A&T and it resulted in North Carolina A&T becoming the first HBCU to host an NCAA Division I regional championship on its campus in 2006. An early pioneer, she made history in 1980 by becoming the first African American woman to appear on the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Box.

Wicker-McCree served as the Director of Athletics at North Carolina Central University from 2008-2022 and is credited with transitioning the Eagles to NCAA Division I. She began her career at North Carolina Central as the head coach of both the women’s volleyball and softball programs and became the first coach in school history to win conference championships in multiple sports with NCCU’s first-ever conference titles in softball and volleyball.

Title IX Apparel 

Throughout the entirety of the tournament, all 12 men’s and women’s teams will be wearing Title IX patches on their game jerseys. On Friday, the tournament’s eight remaining teams will be wearing special Title IX shooting shirts during the pregame. Additionally, Mess in a Bottle, a female black-owned Baltimore business, will be selling Title IX t-shirts with a portion of the proceeds going towards the CIAA.

Ancillary Events 

On Thursday, February 23, the CIAA will be hosting a Women’s Empowerment Brunch and a Diversity and Inclusion Townhall and Reception in Baltimore, MD.

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