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CIAA in Charlotte through 2020
6-year tournament extension also relocates HQ
Published Monday, March 3, 2014 3:47 pm
by Herbert L. White

The CIAA and its basketball tournament will be in Charlotte for the foreseeable future.

CIAA Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter answers reporters' questions during a press conference on March 3. The CIAA and Charlotte officials announced a six-year extension of the league's tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena and an increase in scholarships to the CIAA's 12 member schools.

The league and city officials announced on Monday a six-year contract extension that will keep the tournament in Charlotte through 2020 as well as relocating the conference office from Hampton, Va., in 2016. The agreement in principal came two days after the tournament wrapped up its ninth year in Charlotte, a record stay during the tournament’s 69-year existence.

“An overtime buzzer-beater victory for the CIAA and Charlotte-Mecklenburg is what we celebrate,” Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon said. “We are thrilled to keep this tournament in Charlotte after such an action-packed week.”

Financial terms of the agreement weren’t revealed, but CIAA Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter said it was “comprehensive” in scope, which includes increased scholarship payouts of $1.4 million for the league's 12 member schools, a 40 percent boost over previous contributions by Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The tournament generated $47 million in economic impact in 2013, according to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. The 2014 impact has yet to be calculated, but the tournament, which routinely brings upwards to 180,000 people to Charlotte for a week of games, parties and other events, is a major economic windfall.

“We know how much it brings in from hotels and what it does for the city and what it means to be on national television when they broadcast the games,” said Charlotte City Council member Vi Lyles. “So the scholarship money is going to make a difference and we’re going to raise it and we’re going to make it happen.”

Said Carpenter: “It’s a comprehensive package, so it’s beyond the tournament. It allows us to move here, which is great. We’re going to imbed ourselves in this community.”

Carpenter, who came to the CIAA from the National Collegiate Athletic Association, also hinted the partnership with Charlotte could also extend to bidding for NCAA national championships. The CIAA competes in NCAA Division II, which hosts its national basketball championship in Springfield, Mass., and its football title game in Florence, Ala.

“I worked at the NCAA, I know how all that works and I think there’s a great opportunity for us to bring other business as partners together outside of the scholarship monies and the funding they help us support the tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena…” Carpenter said. It’s truly a complete package that supports the mission and vision of our institutions.”

Relocating the league office to Charlotte, the southernmost city in the CIAA footprint will help reduce costs for the tournament as staff and logistics are concentrated in one spot. Travel to the member schools will be easier with seven CIAA campuses located in North Carolina.

“This is a big move for us, but at the same time we’re still in the corridor of our 12 member institutions, which still allows us to have access to all of them,” Carpenter said. “



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