Carl C. James, commissioner of the Big Eight Conference, has been chosen as the recipient of the 30th James J.
Corbett Memorial Award by the honors and awards committee of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of
The award -- considered the highest honor in athletics administration -- is presented annually to the
administrator who "through the years has most typified Corbett's devotion to intercollegiate athletics and has
worked unceasingly for its betterment." Corbett, former athletics director at Louisiana State University, served
as NACDA's first president in 1965.
James became the Big Eight's fourth commissioner in 1980. The Duke University graduate has more than
40 years' experience in intercollegiate athletics, first as a student-athlete in football and track and then as
an institutional and conference administrator.
Under James' leadership, the Big Eight twice has served as host of the NCAA Final Four (1988 in Kansas City,
Missouri, and 1990 in Denver). He also was responsible for the selection of Kansas City as the site of the 1998
Women's Final Four.
James also negotiated agreements linking the Big Eight to the Federal Express Orange Bowl and joined with league
administrators in negotiating television contracts in all sports sponsored by the Big Eight, as well as sports
that will be sponsored by the Big 12 Conference.
After earning seven varsity letters at Duke (three in football and four in track and field), James became
assistant to the athletics director at the school in 1954. He also served as the university's chief recruiter.
He worked from 1966 to 1969 for Roadway Express, Inc., then returned to Duke as associate director of athletics.
In 1972, he became athletics director at the school.
In 1977, James became executive director of the Sugar Bowl, then was named director of athletics at the
University of Maryland, College Park, a year later.
James, who was inducted into NACDA's hall of fame in 1990, served on the association's executive committee in
He also has served on NCAA committees, including the Postseason Football Committee, and has served on College
Football Association committees and as chair of the Collegiate Commissioners Association.
"Being selected as the 1996 recipient of the James J. Corbett Award is truly an honor," James said. "I have
always admired the dedication, the professionalism and the management expertise of past recipients and never
anticipated that I would be recognized for my efforts as an athletics administrator."