By Greg Johnson
Three years ago, Carolayne Henry added the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee to her long line of NCAA committee service, and now she will chair for that group during the 2012-13 academic year.
Henry, associate commissioner of compliance for the Mountain West Conference, is looking forward to the assignment of being the person who speaks on behalf of all 10 committee members, especially after the selection, seeding and bracketing process takes place in mid-March.
“It is exciting,” said Henry, who played basketball at Michigan (1982-86) where she earned a degree in political science. “It is necessary for someone to serve in that role. We have a good group, and I will do my best to represent them well. My other committee service had always been on the administrative side of things, and I had an interest in serving on a sports committee.”
The committee has gathered in Indianapolis this week to construct the bracket for the 2012 Division I Women’s Basketball Championship. With each year of service, Henry grows more comfortable with her work on the committee.
She said the first year can be overwhelming, but it settles down as committee members develop a plan of how to accomplish their tasks. She and her nine colleagues watch more than 1,000 games in preparation for constructing the field for the tournament that culminates with the Women’s Final Four.
“The committee discusses teams throughout the season, and you learn about some teams you need to watch as the season progresses,” said Henry, who earned a law degree from Pittsburgh in 1990. “Those conversations are helpful because you may find out that you may need to watch a certain team more. You want to make sure you have a full picture of all the teams that might be considered. It is all part of the process.”
Henry’s other governance service includes four years on the Division I Academics/Eligibility Compliance Cabinet (1999-03). During that time, time she spent one year on the Division I Subcommittee on Financial Aid and three years on the Division I Subcommittee for Student-Athlete Reinstatement.
Henry completed her term as chair of the reinstatement committee, spending a total of six years (1999-05) on the committee, with three of those as chair. She also spent two years on the Division I Women’s Basketball Issues Committee (2001-03).
Henry was the Mountain West Conference representative to the Division I Management Council for four years (2004-08). She has also served as her league’s representative on the Division I Administration Cabinet (2008-10), which is responsible for addressing Division I governance and membership issues.
“On those governance committees, you are always talking about rules that govern student-athletes and administrators,” said Henry, a native of Battle Creek, Mich. “I get to see a different side serving on this committee. You see where some of the rules that were implemented impact student-athletes directly. It gives you a better understanding of what changes can be made going into the future.”
Before joining the Mountain West Conference in 1999, Henry worked at the NCAA national office on the membership services staff for nearly six years.
She interpreted and drafted legislation for the NCAA membership and was the liaison to several NCAA committees. In addition to her legislative duties at the NCAA, Henry prepared educational material, formulated a Division II conference seminar plan, organized videoconference presentations on NCAA rules for high schools and colleges, and coordinated NCAA regional rules seminars.