The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference today announced a five-year extension for Commissioner Gregory Moore, adding a half-decade two what has arguably one of the great executive runs in the history of black college sports.
Forget the obvious, tell-tale signs of high-level success that any conference would enjoy; perennial leadership in total attendance, added member schools and sports programs, and extension of the brand through strategic moves such as a creating a football championship game and elevating the social media presence of the conference at large.
What makes Moore, a non-HBCU graduate from New Jersey the best thing to happen to the national branding of HBCU sports since Eddie Robinson, has been his acumen in leveraging the existing brand of his schools, and their potential in the small school sports marketplace.
“By almost every objective measure the SIAC has grown stronger under the visionary leadership of Commissioner Moore. As Chairman of the SIAC Council of Presidents, I note and am appreciative of the support of our member presidents of Commissioner Moore’s proven and focused leadership, which has resulted in obvious competitive advantage for the SIAC,” said Miles College President George T. French, who serves as SIAC Council of Presidents. “The board is extremely pleased with the commissioner’s performance for what has been a near-decade transformation of our conference. We look forward to the continuation of his outstanding leadership and the advancement of the SIAC over the next five years.”
That transformation has been from corporate angles, in the way of secured sponsorships and partnerships. A few to consider:
- Negotiated five-year league-wide Nike “head-to-toe” partnership
- Multi-year partnership with ESPN
- New or extended partnerships with the Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot, Toyota, Alabama Power, Georgia Pacific Foundation
- First NCAA conference to consummate league-wide all school Sidearm Sports partnership.
- First NCAA conference to partner with Silicon Valley Andreessen Horowitz portfolio company start-up (Bevel)
- Multi-year partnerships with the NFL and the first conference to enter inclusion partnership with the NBA Players Association.
- SIAC basketball tournament streaming partnership with HBCU Gameday
Those partnerships have helped the conference to achieve nearly impossible financial goals in the era of big college sports. The SIAC boasts no debt, a reserve fund of nearly $1 million, and has posted eight straight years of budget surpluses.
The conference also makes the news. It is the first NCAA conference to have women in a football gameday officiating crew and regularly highlights its member schools as being a breeding ground for former professional athletes securing their first head coaching jobs.
For the hype of the CIAA, the geographic footprint of the SWAC and the HBCU corporate brands powered by the MEAC’s member schools, none of them have collectively pulled off the kinds of initiatives executed by the SIAC. And most importantly, Moore has done all of this with several institutions mired in controversy over presidential dismissals, and campuses facing outright financial crisis.
It is often easy to criticize what is wrong about HBCUs as indoctrinated stakeholders, because we are hopelessly and madly in love with the potential of our campuses both individually and collectively. But Moore is doing something right with the SIAC, and it is proving to be a major key for fans and corporations nationwide.
But of all of the roses which could be laid at Moore’s feet and to the SIAC for locking him up for five more years, the best one is probably found in the place most of us would least expect to look. In the nether regions of HBCU sports message board communities like Onnidan.com, MEACFans.com and HBCUSports.com, try to find a thread or a poster who has included Greg Moore in dialog about how badly HBCU sports commissioners need to be fired.
You probably won’t find one, because his work has been effective enough in strengthening schools and brand alike that no one is even paying attention to just how great he’s been for the SIAC, and HBCU sports at large.