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CIAA Ready To Kick Off Tournament Festivities

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RALEIGH, N.C. — No matter what fans are into, the CIAA Tournament and events that come with it offers something for everyone.

From the stands to the basketball court to the outlying events -- the six-day event does not miss a beat.

The 2004 CIAA Basketball Tournament will be as exciting as usual," said Monique Morgan, assistant to the CIAA commissioner.

Morgan said only a limited number of tickets are left at the box office for the basketball games.

The women's tournament begins Monday; the men begin play on Wednesday. The games are at 1 p.m., 3 p.m, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. each day.

Basketball is the anchor for what has become an even bigger show. Tom Joyner will do his live radio "Sky Show" from Raleigh's BTI Center on Friday. The event is free, but fans will line up early for the 6 a.m. show.

The always popular battle of the bands and cheerleading competitions will no doubt draw a crowd. Super Saturday will showcase some of the best street ball players in the world.

"Super Saturday will have a new twist," Morgan said. "We'll have street basketball. They play and perform against some of our former CIAA players."

The tournament is in its 59th year -- and its fifth at the RBC Center.Last year's tournament drew more than 80,000 fans -- that is double the attendance from when it was held in Winston-Salem four years ago.

The event pumps an estimated $10.2 million into the local economy and generated $750,000 in scholarship money for the nation's oldest African-American athletic conference.

Raleigh hopes to hang onto the tournament after its host contract runs out in 2005.