Ram Ramblings: CIAA Tournament should stay in Charlotte

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The CIAA released its information on the impact its basketball tournaments have on Charlotte.

The numbers aren’t exact because they come from the tourism department and their job is to make everything look good. The release from the CIAA office says there was a slight increase in attendance for games during this past tournament.

The conference has a chance to move the tournament with the contract with Charlotte ending in 2020. There are two more years left on the contract and the success the tournament has had in Charlotte has been there.

In covering the CIAA Tournament for the last 22 years, minus the years WSSU tried to move up to Division I, the opinion here is the tournament works in Charlotte. The hotels are in walking distance of the arena and that’s a major plus.

There’s been plenty of speculation about where the tournament would go but I’m not sure there are a lot of cities going after the tournament. If that was the case then there would have been a bidding process by now.

I don’t have a vote, but keep it in Charlotte. It’s proven to work there over the last several years.

Here is the release sent out yesterday from the CIAA:

Charlotte, N.C. (May 31, 2018) – The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) made a significant impact during the 13th hosting of its annual men’s and women’s basketball tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina.

This year’s tournament delivered record attendances at many of the conference’s annual community service events, crowned Virginia Union University men’s and women’s basketball teams as tournament champions and created welcoming atmospheres both in-arena and at other official events, while boosting the local economy.

Approximately, $1.6 million were raised in scholarship funds for current and future students to receive an education across the CIAA’s 12-member institutions. These dollars are generated from support provided by our sponsors, alumni and fans who purchase tickets, and tax dollars generated from visitors traveling to town to be a part of the CIAA tournament experience.

$28.8 million in direct spending was made by visitors on hotel accommodations, local transportation, food, shopping and entertainment during their tournament week stay

$9.7 million in indirect spending was made by local businesses who increased their advertising and communications efforts, and purchases of miscellaneous supplies and services to meet the incremental demand of CIAA tournament visitors

$12 million in labor wages were earned by the high volume of workers needed to support activities during tournament week and re-spent by those employees within the local economy.

“This year’s tournament was truly a homecoming celebration for CIAA students, alumni and fans,” said Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams. “We are grateful for the continuous support of our alumni and fans who attend from near and far, member institutions, and local and national partnerships. The combined efforts play a key role in the annual successes of the CIAA Basketball Tournament, and we look forward to forging stronger partnerships with the hospitality community to ensure that the support of our alumni and fans can benefit our CIAA institutions.”

For the second year, the conference held early round games sessions at Bojangles’ Coliseum on Tuesday and Wednesday and continued with the quarterfinals, semifinals, and championship finals at Spectrum Center on Thursday through Saturday. The collective game attendance for both venues was 73,343—a 5.8 percent increase from 2017.

“We are pleased with the continued growth we’ve been able to achieve by moving our early-round games to Bojangles’ Coliseum," stated Dr. James Anderson, Chairman of the CIAA Board of Directors. “Not only have we created an exciting atmosphere for our student-athletes, alumni, and fans; but we’ve been able to deepen our relationships and persistently expand our engagement within the communities outside of Uptown Charlotte.”

Approximately 5,544 high and middle school students from Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and surrounding counties were reached during the annual CIAA Education Day program. Approximately 537 high school seniors were admitted to CIAA member institutions on-site.

Approximately 95 volunteers, including 40 student-athletes, distributed 800 pairs of new shoes to Nathaniel Alexander Elementary students. This initiative was a part of the 4th Annual Shoes of Hope project in partnership with Samaritan’s Feet and Coke Zero.

The CIAA Career Expo drew a record crowd of 550 attendees, providing over 60 vendors inclusive of employers and recruiters with the opportunity to meet recent graduates, graduation candidates, current students from CIAA member schools and area universities, as well as local residents seeking job opportunities.

The CIAA Minority Business & Leadership Symposium drew in 215 minority and small business owners, and featured a panel discussion of candid conversations with business leaders on building and achieving generational wealth and prosperity through business ownership. President & CEO of Black Enterprise, Earl "Butch" Graves Jr., delivered a keynote address to attendees. The CIAA also provided leadership development training to 40 of its student-athlete leaders from across all 12-member institutions.

The 2018 John B. McLendon CIAA Hall of Fame ceremony welcomed 508 attendees who celebrated the four individual inductees and the 13 members of the 1967 WSSU men’s basketball team (under the leadership of legendary Head Coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines) into the new class.

Toyota Fan Fest and Super Saturday, part of the tournament’s annual lineup of free activities for families, welcomed over 23,000 students, alumni, and fans to the Charlotte Convention Center.

Early-round basketball games will be played at Bojangles’ Coliseum on February 26 and 27, followed by quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals competitions at Spectrum Center from February 28 to March 2.

The conference plans to continue building upon its past year’s efforts of weaving the Charlotte community and beyond into the fabric of the CIAA experience from basketball games and family-friendly activities to community programs that focus on components such as employment, diversity and inclusion, and entrepreneurship.

Founded in 1912, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) is the first African American athletic conference and one of the most recognized conferences in Division II. The CIAA conducts 16 championships attended by more than 150,000 fans from around the country. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, the CIAA is governed by the Presidents and Chancellors of its 12 member-institutions: Bowie State University, Chowan University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Johnson C. Smith University, Lincoln (Pa) University, Livingstone College, Saint Augustine’s University, Shaw University, Virginia State University, Virginia Union University and Winston-Salem State University. For more information on the CIAA, visit theciaa.com. For more information on the CIAA Basketball Tournament, visit CIAATournament.org, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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