CIAA to Keep Basketball Tournaments in Charlotte, Drops Baseball

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced today that it will keep its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in Charlotte through the 2017-18 season, as the conference reports that spending and economic impact associated with the tournament dropped by more than $10 million from the previous year. From the Charlotte Business Journal:
The men’s and women’s basketball tournament generated $47.4 million and brought in an estimated 103,000 to 138,000 visitors, the CIAA said. In 2016, the tournament added $57.4 million worth of spending and spin-off benefits to the local economy and $31.5 million in direct spending on meals, hotel rooms and other expenses. Direct spending for 2017 was $27 million, or 14% below the previous year.
Tournament games will again be held at the Bojangles’ Coliseum and Spectrum Center, with officials suggesting greater efforts to secure hotel rooms and to host official tournament-branded events.
“We’re excited about the momentum generated thus far, as we continue to focus on enhancing the student-athlete experience, creating impactful programming, and refreshing our touch points through CIAA Supports community initiatives and official events,” said Jacqie McWilliams, CIAA Commissioner. “It is part of the foundation that our conference stands on — Tradition, Leadership and Community.”
The CIAA also announced the end of baseball as a conference sport, citing the loss of Elizabeth City State University in 2014 in taking them below the NCAA-required six programs for sponsorship. Schools with baseball programs will likely be charged with finding other conferences or discontinuing the sport.
The conference also renewed its contract with Salem, Va. to keep the CIAA football championship through 2019. The CIAA moved the football championship to Virginia last year after the controversy surrounding LGBT support and boycotts of venues in North Carolina, following the passage of a controversial anti-LGBT bill by state legislators.
The bill was repealed in March, and is believed to be the catalyst for the return of several major sporting events to the state, including the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.