AD Tamica Smith Jones Selected for NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee

Jones was selected as a member out of a candidate pool of 300

UCR Athletics Director Tamica Smith Jones is one of 33 female athletic directors in Division 1 in the United States. sandra baltazar martínez

UC Riverside’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Tamica Smith Jones is running, dribbling, and shooting with a new opportunity to promote the university.

She now serves as a member of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Sport Committee, which chooses the collegiate programs that annually get in to “the big dance,” the competition for the national title. Her term, which began this academic year, runs for five years. In the committee, she is a representative of the Big West Conference.

Jones was selected as a member out of a candidate pool of 300. As athletics director at UCR, Jones is one of 33 female athletic directors in Division 1 — and one of only three African American women in Division 1 — in the United States.

The NCAA Division I committee operates with 10 members. Among other responsibilities, the committee determines the host institutions and the site of the championship games in collaboration with the Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee, and selects, seeds and brackets the NCAA Championship.

Since her arrival at UCR two years ago, she has worked to connect herself, as well as UCR’s athletes, to the regional community. Her efforts were recognized with the 2017 Women of Distinction Award from Assemblyman Jose Medina’s office, which was conferred on March 18. Jones received the award, along with 19 other awardees, Medina said, because she has “served as a role model for the young women in our district.”

“I love it here. I want to make sure athletics is part of the fabric of the university,” Jones said on a recent Tuesday morning as she sat in her office, the walls covered with photographs of student athletes.

As a way to integrate herself, her team, and the athletes into the greater community, she often reminds them of the importance of being an active participant, of showing the professional and the personal aspect of their lives. She is a proud mother of two children, a 9-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son, who keep her grounded, she said.

“That’s one of the things I push. I want people to see in me more than just an athletics director. I’m a mother, a person,” Jones said, adding that she learned to be both from her own mother. “And I’m pushing to send that message as a leader on this campus and servant in this community. I want our student athletes to be engaged on campus. I want them to reach their goals as great people, not just players.”

Jones wants to keep promoting Highlander pride. On her short-term goal list is The Bear’s Den, a state-of-the-art locker room facility within the Physical Education building which will include team spaces, a study lounge, and a re-fueling station, among other amenities.

As Jones networks and learns from her role in the NCAA Division 1 committee, she’s hoping the education and exposure will bring more insight into the championship selection process for UCR’s  coaches, as well as bridges relationships for non-conference scheduling down the road.

In addition, serving in the committee is an opportunity for visibility that will connect alumni to UCR, and eventually elevate Division I programs to the level of competition that will generate more dollars through increasing ticket sales, donations, and sponsorships to augment the sports department’s infrastructure.

“I want to make sure UCR is the crown jewel of the community,” Jones said. “We are here to make this place better. So, I embrace the challenges just as I celebrate the wins every day.”

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