RALEIGH — TheCIAA Tournamentis known for its rich tradition. While the older generation is full of die-hard fans, the league is trying to do a better job of attracting young fans.
The CIAA is sporting a youthful appearance this year. More students paid $40 to $50 for tickets and for the first time in six years, all of the student tickets are sold out.
This is the first tournament for Shashia Washington, a graduate student at North Carolina Central. She says the tournament is more accessible.
"I was a Elizabeth City State undergrad, and I thought Winston-Salem was a little far to go six hours for a day and travel back for class," Washington says. "So now, I'm able to come and go to class tomorrow."
Washington is one of 10,000 students within an hour's drive of theEntertainment and Sports Arena. Ezell Brown is an NCCU alum and says the expanded student base is good for the tournament.
"It's just a local drive," Brown says. "There is no housing, no extra food expenses if you choose not to spend money, because you can go back home to your local environment to eat and drink."
Students will have more than just basketball to look forward to. A fashion show is scheduled to take place Friday at noon and the CIAA step show will be at 10 p.m. Friday.