National Collegiate Athletic Association

The NCAA News - News & Features

May 20, 1996

Big Eight commissioner receives Corbett Award

National Collegiate Athletic Association

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 Athletics (NACDA).

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 1976-77.

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."