Courtney Vinson

Senior Associate Athletic Director for Sport Administration, Intercollegiate Athletics

Courtney Vinson

What year did you start working at NIU? 2018.

Where is your hometown, and where do you live now?
Long Island, NY and Aurora, IL.

Where did you attend school? What degree(s) did you earn?
Florida A&M University, bachelor’s in journalism; Marshall University, master’s in athletics administration.

Describe your typical day—what do you do while at work?
Every day is different in NIU Huskie Athletics, and that is why I love it! I oversee Athletics’ Compliance office, where we ensure the NCAA and Mid American Conference (MAC) rules are being taught and followed by coaches, staff and student-athletes. Since the pandemic, there have been so many different rule changes, I have to ensure that I am learning and applying the most up-to-date information and educating different units to ensure compliance with the rules. I oversee three different sports that are all unique in their own right, so it is important that I am in communication with those head coaches regularly.

In addition to meeting the needs of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, I chair the department's Diversity Integration Group, part of our Social Justice Athletics Education Plan. I also work with various other departments on campus to make certain I understand campus policy and procedures and I can share that information within my department. My day consists of working with and through issues involving these areas — or something completely different. That is the nature of athletics.

What do you like about working at NIU?
There are two main things that I like about working at NIU. The first one is the how helpful the staff is, regardless what office I contact and what my needs are. I have found that the NIU staff really want our students to have a good experience during their time on this campus.

The second one is how willing people have been to have difficult conversations. Whether we are talking about sexism, racism, discriminating due to religious beliefs and/or anything else, we are not afraid to have the conversation and truly try to understand the issues.

What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?
I would tell students at NIU to explore and engage in campus programs and organizations. The time in college is short, so it is important to build connections with people while you are here. There are so many other students, staff, and faculty members who want to see you succeed, but first you have to explore and engage campus.

What is your favorite campus event?
I am a fan of fierce competition, so I really enjoy NIU sporting events. It is a time where the community can come in grab a soda and snacks and enjoy the camaraderie of wearing the red and black and cheering on our Huskies!

In what ways do you see your colleagues help foster student success?
When other units reach out to athletics to ask or share information that engages our student-athlete population. For instance, the Center for Black Studies hosts different programming regularly. When our student-athletes participate in programs that are outside of athletics and within campus, it makes our campus stronger while also showing student-athletes they are far more than just an athlete.

What is your favorite memory of NIU?
In 2018-19, our NIU men's basketball team beat the #14 ranked Buffalo Bulls on a buzzer-beater lay-up made by then-junior Noah McCarty (graduated) and assisted by then-freshmen and current junior Trendon Hankerson.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not, what changed your path?
I wanted to be an athlete, but an injury I sustained my freshmen year changed my path. I am currently doing what I am meant to do in being an athletic administrator, and I enjoy it.

Are you a member of or hold a position within a professional organization? If so, what organization? What is the purpose of that organization and how does being part of this organization benefit you in your role at NIU?
I am member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NAAC), the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association (MOAA).

What community organizations are you involved in?
I do volunteer work at a homeless shelter in my community.

What do you do to relax or recharge?
I enjoy working out, traveling with my friends, watching tv, and reading a good book.

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