Jun 6, 2017 - News

CIAA basketball tournament staying in Charlotte for 2018

The CIAA basketball tournament, one of Charlotte’s largest annual sporting events, will return to the city in 2018, the conference said Monday.

Next year will mark the 13th in a row that Charlotte has hosted the event showcasing the mid-Atlantic’s historically black colleges and universities. This February, the tournament brought between 103,000 to 138,000 people to the city, according to the CIAA. This year’s tournament had an estimated economic impact of $47.4 million, the conference said.

The fact that the CIAA tournament is returning shouldn’t be unusual. After all, the conference is under contract here through 2020.

But the CIAA nearly pulled the games from Charlotte this year — and a not insignificant number of Charlotteans have pushed to expel the tournament after rounds of gunfire Uptown the last few years.

Conference officials moved the CIAA’s other sporting events from the state of North Carolina last year as a reaction to House Bill 2, the law that struck down nondiscrimination ordinances. At the time, they said that it was too late to move the basketball tournament but said they would evaluate their options in the future.

The state legislature has since repealed the law, but left in place a provision that prevents cities from passing nondiscrimination ordinances. The NBA and NCAA have restored sporting events in North Carolina, and now the CIAA is also voicing its support for the compromise.

[Agenda story: House Bill 2 is dead — but nobody’s super happy about it]

NBA commissioner Adam Silver

There was also a local backlash this year after more than 100 rounds were fired Uptown in an incident not affiliated with CIAA official activities but coinciding with one of the final games. City Manager Marcus Jones and Mayor Jennifer Roberts were forced to defend the city’s continued hosting of the tournament.

[Agenda story: Why the white outrage over CIAA gunfire?]

There will almost certainly be changes in 2018. Jones told the Observer in March that there would be a chance to do a “look back” after the tournament this year.

The city has also started discussing a new permitting process that would give the police a better overview of what types of non-sanctioned events are going on during the CIAA tournament.

[Agenda story: City to take a look at regulating CIAA day parties after this year’s gunfire]

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