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CIAA in no rush to decide on host
Commissioner: Process taking longer than expected
 
Published Wednesday, February 26, 2014 12:00 pm
by Michaela L. Duckett

As the 2014 CIAA basketball tournament unfolds, there is still no word on where next year's will be held after spending nearly a decade in Charlotte. The question is, what’s taking so long for a decision to be made.

PHOTO/CURTIS WILSON
CIAA Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter (left) says the league doesn't want to rush the process of deciding on a host city for annual basketball tournament. The 2014 tournament is the final one on a contract between Charlotte and the conference.

After 17 months on the job, CIAA Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter said Wednesday at a press conference she and the league's board need more time.

She said that ideally a decision would have been made by now, but doesn’t want to rush the process and declined to give a timeline on when a host city would be named.

“It’s taken some time,” she said. “It’s not an easy job just to put a bid process out there and then get all the information out. And then what do you do with it? I think we have been very strategic on trying to manage it as best as we can.”

Carpenter said making adjustments for the tournament’s growth is a big part of the process. The number of hotel rooms needed has increased. Having a sizeable arena is also an important factor. She also noted how much auxiliary events have changed over the years and said the league would like to add more in the future.

Overall, Carpenter wants to “pack out the arena” and said the goal is to minimize expenses for the CIAA and maximize scholarship money for student-athletes at the conference’s 12 member institutions. Carpenter also said establishing strong relationships within communities is important and wherever the tournament goes she hopes to be able to create the same type of partnership established in Charlotte.

“Of course I would have like to have known where we were going six months ago,” she said. “But I think making sure that I understand how we need to move forward with any city is extremely important. It’s taken some time, a lot more time than I expected, but I’m confident that we will get it done.”

Carpenter said several cities have expressed interest in hosting the tournament. Her office has received calls from as far north as Queens, N.Y. She added that Atlanta is “rumored” to be a strong contender and her team has been in talks with Greensboro, Raleigh, Durham, Richmond and Hampton, Va. However, Carpenter was mum on which cities, if any, have made it to the short list.

The limbo has left some wondering if a prolonged decision process could put the tournament’s future host in a bind in terms of planning for a week of events. Carpenter said any city bidding to host the tournament is aware of what’s expected.

“They know what they have [to offer],” she said. “They know what the dates are of when the tournament is. They know they host it so they know exactly or have a sense of what this tournament looks like and what the potential needs are.”

In the meantime, Charlotte officials have vowed to continue their efforts to keep the CIAA here. Regardless of where the tournament goes next year, one thing is certain. If it leaves Charlotte, the new host will have some awfully big shoes to fill.

“Charlotte as a community has invested in a very focused and very intentional way over the last two decades to create a center of hospitality,” said Michael Smith, CEO of Charlotte City Partners. “The CIAA tournament and all of its events is exactly what we envisioned to create this CIAA village of sorts that allows people to come in…  park the car one time and enjoy all that Charlotte has to offer. It’s just going to get better.”

Comments

I understand the interest the cities mentioned have in hosting the CIAA tournament but why are cities such Hampton, Va. and Richmond, Va. in the running where as their respective arenas will not seat the 15,000 plus fans attending the event daily. I would also like to express my concern related to the increases in hotel rates. The short list of cities should offer the regular hotel rates +10% max because if the tournament wasn't in their towns it's highly likely the hotel rooms would be mostly vacant. I am a 47 year attendee of the CIAA tournament and hotel rates seem to greatly increase when HBCU folks are resting their heads.I understand that the hotels have to increase staff during the event dates but this restricts a large number of CIAA students from attending and supporting their universities. I know that Commissioner Carpenter will do what is best for all of us CIAA fans.
Posted on February 26, 2014
 

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