Ask Dr. Carter

The athletic department at JCSU is in disarray. Yet, the JCSU administration, starting with you, choose to ignore this reality. Most of the problem rests with the fact that the Athletics Director (AD), Mr. Joyner, is not a qualified Athletics Director.

Yet, he is serving in two capacities. During his stint as AD, there has been NO progress in the athletic program. The program suffers from a lack of facilities as well as a lack of incentives to recruit good athletes. The AD position requires a full staff position and a person who can do fundraising, recruit quality athletes, and more importantly, has a vision for the future of the program. When will you and the administration replace Mr. Joyner as AD and provide the athletic program with the financial support it needs to be competitive in the CIAA?


The following answer is provided by Coach Stephen Joyner Sr., Director of Athletics.

The Johnson C. Smith University Department of Athletics has a proud tradition of producing student-athletes who win in competition and excel in the classroom. Therefore, I believe we can say definitively that the Department of Athletics is not in disarray. We are organized appropriately according to University, CIAA and NCAA guidelines, and we continue to meet the overall needs of our student-athletes as well as our sport teams. We can also happily report that the athletics department has not had any major violations, and our teams remain competitive in these tough financial times which are not only facing JCSU, but also other institutions in the CIAA and NCAA Division II. 

Whenever questions arise about a department, it is natural for some people to place scrutiny on the leader. I am proud of my leadership as the Director of Athletics and my service to the athletics department. My experiences as an assistant coach, head coach and assistant athletics director over my 30 years in the CIAA have prepared me very well for my current position as Director of Athletics, which is in addition to my position as head men’s basketball coach. I am honored and privileged to serve, and the department has accomplished much during my tenure. 

The athletics department’s accomplishments speak for themselves, and we are delighted with our progress on many fronts. Since 2001, our sport teams have won CIAA Championships in men’s basketball (2001, 2008 and 2009), women’s basketball (2009), and women’s track (2011 and 2014). The football team won the Pioneer Bowl in 2011. Several of our teams have been involved in NCAA regional and national championships. But above all, we are very pleased with the academic performance and graduation rates of our JCSU student-athletes. As of 2013, our institution has the second highest academic success rate in the CIAA, and we are fourth in the Atlantic Region which includes the CIAA, PSAC and Mountain East Conferences. We also hold the highest federal graduation rate among all CIAA institutions. Ensuring that our student-athletes earn their undergraduate degrees will remain our highest priority and progress indicator. Our men’s and women’s track teams have been very high academic and athletic achievers. Both teams were recognized by the NCAA and JCSU for having the highest academic averages among all NCAA Division II track teams last season. Our women’s track team won its second CIAA Championship and earned second place at the NCAA Nationals. Both teams were recognized during our 2014 Homecoming football game. 

We realize the importance of our athletic facilities to the growth and development of our student-athletes as well as to providing a vibrant campus experience to all students. While we would like to have new facilities, our facilities certainly are not lacking. In fact, we are continuously renovating our facilities, so they remain up-to-date. The Irwin Belk Complex is a state-of-the-art facility that houses our home football games in addition to our track and field events. The track was recently resurfaced and equipped with the Mondo surface used in the London 2012 Olympics. The Jack S. Brayboy Gymnasium has been updated with new bleachers, and our softball team currently competes at Biddleville Park near campus. We are taking bids to resurface the JCSU tennis courts in the spring. Our facilities are comparable to other CIAA institutions and most NCAA Division II institutions. While bricks and mortar may provide incentives for prospective student-athletes to attend JCSU, the intellectual capital on our campus is abundant. A JCSU degree has a very high value and remains the most important and attractive incentive for prospective student-athletes just as it is for all students at the University.

It is no secret that college athletics programs require funds to operate and be competitive. Because the higher education landscape has changed over the past few years and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future, securing the funds needed to provide a high quality education and vibrant campus experience is a challenge for nearly all higher education institutions. Johnson C. Smith University is no exception. JCSU is on firm financial footing; however, additional funds are needed to provide gap scholarship funds for student-athletes, to continue upgrading athletic facilities and to enhance the competitiveness of our teams. The athletics department has been successful in generating funds to supplement funds provided by the University. The department has collaborated with the Division of Institutional Advancement to develop a well-constructed plan for raising funds, and we look forward to building upon our success. 

As an alumnus and an employee of Johnson C. Smith University, I have first-hand knowledge of Dr. Carter’s efforts on behalf of our athletics programs. He has certainly demonstrated his ability as a visionary leader. Dr. Carter has organized the University and galvanized the community with a strong strategic plan that is guiding our institution through these challenging times. We welcome the thoughts of our alumni, and ask for your support as we continue the forward trajectory that will bring JCSU to the forefront of HBCUs as one of the nation’s premier new urban universities.

This answer was posted on: 12/12/2014 10:03 am