Some fans want CIAA Tournament back in capital city
Posted February 27
Updated February 28
Charlotte, N.C. — Nearly 200,000 fans were a part of last year’s CIAA tournament, generating $47 million for Charlotte’s economy.
Those are bodies – and dollars – Raleigh wants back.
The Capital City is among three areas vying to host the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament after Charlotte’s three-year contract is up this year. Raleigh hosted the tournament from 1999-2005 before it moved to the Queen City.
Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Washington D.C. are also being considered.
Some, like Sebastian Simmons, hope the tournament returns to Raleigh.
"I think what would happen if it comes back to Raleigh, we would get back into the game itself, the CIAA," the St. Augustine alumnus said. "It's about coming to the tournament and watching the game, watching the players, supporting the schools."
Shaw University, St. Augustine’s University and Fayetteville State University are CIAA members.
Others, like Jerry Farrior, want it to stay where it is.
"I like Charlotte. I've been here every year it's been in Charlotte so I've been coming since 1974," the Fayetteville State alumnus said.
Fayetteville State University Chancellor James Anderson is worried about more than location.
"I'm speaking for myself, what we need is to be assured that our return on our investment, which most importantly is scholarships for students, that's it's significant, it's substantive," said Anderson, who is on the CIAA Board of Directors and among the decision makers for the next host city. "Charlotte hasn't been fair, as far as i'm concerned, to the HBCUs."
While the tournament generated about $47 million in local revenue, the CIAA received $1 million in scholarship dollars to split among the conference's 12 member schools, Anderson said.
Anderson added that the one item in Raleigh's favor is the PNC arena, which is where the tournament was held previously.
Jazmina Paris hopes history repeats itself.
"Shaw is in Raleigh and it would be just a hop and a skip away," the Shaw University junior said. "And it would bring more tourist attraction here in Raleigh."
Scott Dupree, executive director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, pointed out that any talk about the tournament coming to Raleigh is just preliminary. Until the CIAA outlines specific needs, Dupree said, it is too early to comment.
He issued this statement early Friday:
"Once we receive the RFP (request for proposal) from the CIAA office, we will take a close look to see what the conference is requesting and requiring from the host city. Once we have a clear picture of what the CIAA is looking for, we will get together with all of our host partners – the city, the county, PNC Arena, St. Aug’s, Shaw, the Carolina Hurricanes, NC State, the CVB & the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance – to discuss the CIAA tournament and to determine whether it is a good fit for Raleigh."