Triangle touted as landing spot for CIAA tourney

Feb. 24, 2014 @ 06:26 PM

Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association commissioner Jacqie Carpenter said she hopes to have a decision on the future site of her league's basketball tournaments by late March.

The weeklong men's and women's basketball tournaments tip off today in Charlotte, where it has been held since 2006.

However, the contract between the 12-team conference primarily comprising historically black colleges and universities and the city of Charlotte expires after this year’s tournaments.

Among the cities interested in hosting the event include Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and the Raleigh-Durham area. Outside of North Carolina, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Hampton, Va. and Washington, D.C., have expressed interest.

The Division II CIAA combined tournaments, the third-largest NCAA basketball tournaments in the country in terms of attendance and economic impact, moved from Raleigh to Charlotte in 2006.

The CIAA is seeking more secured hotel rooms that are within walking distance to where games are played. The tournament has grown steadily over the years, and more than 5,000 rooms are needed, Carpenter said. There haven’t been enough rooms in previous years, she said.

The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority estimated that last year’s CIAA tournaments generated a $47.17 million economic impact for the city and the immediate surrounding area, including $29.86 million in direct spending. That was down slightly from the $50.5 million impact in 2012 when the conference celebrated its 100-year anniversary.

The week of the CIAA Tournament draws both basketball fans and partygoers, some of them attracted to the national celebrities who attend.

“This is the one of the largest events in the country, and we depend on this tournament being successful so that we can distribute a significant amount of scholarship dollars to our membership institutions,” Carpenter said.