Local News

No Decision Reached About CIAA Tourney's Future

Posted November 15, 2004

— It may be weeks before we know whether Raleigh or Charlotte will play host to the

CIAA

basketball championship.

High-ranking officials in the Triangle, including Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker and Durham Mayor Bill Bell, are in Norfolk, Va., to convince CIAA officials to keep the tournament in Raleigh.

The event, which has been in Raleigh since 2000, ends a second three-year contract with the 2005 games. In five years since leaving Winston-Salem, the tournament has doubled its attendance to more than 90,000 fans over the week.

Charlotte wants some of that success. The city lost out to Raleigh last time the tournament was up for bid, even though the Queen City offered a bigger financial package. This time, Charlotte has an NBA basketball owner leading the charge and has a brand new arena under construction.

"Both cities put together very, very competitive proposals," said James Ammons, chancellor of North Carolina Central University.

"Some of what was presented today differed in significant ways from what had been submitted to us in writing before, so some questions were raised," said Mickey Burnim, chancellor of Elizabeth City State University.

The CIAA wants $600,000 in scholarships a year for the 12 CIAA schools. Raleigh is offering $700,000 while Charlotte is offering $960,000.

"We need to be very competitive," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said. "While I can't disclose the terms of our bid, I can tell you that Raleigh and Wake County in partnership are making a very competitive bid with a lot more funding than we had three years ago."

A decision is not expected until the end of the month. Should Raleigh win the bid to host the tournament -- it would be for an unprecedented nine years.

One issue that could have a huge impact on the chancellors' decision -- quality hotels. Close to 20 restaurants and hotels in North Carolina earned AAA's prestigious 4-diamond rating for 2005. However, no hotels in Raleigh made the list.

One restaurant, "The Second Empire," earned four diamonds. In Durham, the Washington Duke Inn and Arrowhead Inn each took top honors. While the Fairview and Four Square scored big for restaurants. Two hotels and two restaurants in Chapel Hill made the list.

In Pinehurst, the Carolina Hotel and Holly Inn made the list. The "1895 Room" is named a top restaurant for the fourth year in a row.

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