CIAA Basketball Tournament eyeing move beginning 2021

Fred Jeter | 12/13/2018, 6 a.m.
The CIAA Basketball Tournament might have a new host city in 2021. Following the athletic conference’s fall board meeting in ...

The CIAA Basketball Tournament might have a new host city in 2021.

Following the athletic conference’s fall board meeting in Charlotte, N.C., it was announced Friday, Dec. 7, that Norfolk and Baltimore are in contention to host the tournaments, from 2021 thorough 2023, along with Charlotte.

In a prepared statement, CIAA officials said the conference would continue to research the situation and render a decision “in a timely manner.” 

Also during the fall meeting, it was determined that Salem, Va., will continue to serve as host for the CIAA football championship game until at least 2024. Salem has hosted the event since 2016.

The basketball tournament has been in Charlotte since 2006 and will remain there until at least 2020. The CIAA is headquartered in Charlotte. CIAA affiliate Johnson C. Smith University also is in Charlotte.

Neither Baltimore nor Norfolk has a school currently in the CIAA. Morgan State University in Baltimore was a CIAA member from 1929 to 1970. Norfolk State University was in the CIAA from 1962 to 1996. Both universities left to join the MEAC.

The MEAC Tournament currently is held at the Norfolk Scope.

Representatives from the cities of Charlotte, Baltimore and Norfolk made presentations to the CIAA committee, which was attended by presidents and chancellors of member institutions on Dec. 4 through 6.

There are 13 CIAA member institutions, including first-year entry Claflin University of Orangeburg, S.C. Other members are located in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.

The annual tournament is a high-dollar event featuring a weeklong series of social and cultural activities in addition to the men’s and women’s basketball games. Many alumni, friends and supporters of the schools book hotel accommodations a year in advance and loyally attend the event each year.

Estimates report that Charlotte enjoyed an economic impact of some $50 million from last winter’s CIAA Tournament, with an estimated 140,000 visitors converging on the Queen City.

Virginia Union University won both the men’s and women’s CIAA basketball titles last year.

The CIAA tournament began in 1946 in Washington and continued at Turner’s Arena there until 1951. It has moved to numerous cities since.

Baltimore hosted in 1952. The tournament enjoyed a successful run in Greensboro, N.C., from 1964 through 1975, with crowds in excess of 15,000 per session.

Hampton hosted 1976 through 1978. Norfolk hosted 1979 to 1985, and again from 1988 to 1990.

Richmond hosted from 1986 to 1987 and again from 1991 through 1993.

Game attendance has dwindled in more recent years, but the overall weeklong schedule of events remains popular.