New Commissioner talks about getting CIAA out of debt - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

New Commissioner talks about getting CIAA out of debt

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) says it is now $200,000 in debt. Last summer the organization was $500,000 in the hole. New CIAA commissioner Jacqie Carpenter says she is ready to tackle the issue.

"We've made some additional cuts," Carpenter said. "And have done better business decisions in some of the championships we run."

Carpenter also says fans can help out a great deal to get the association out of debt. She told WBTV out of all the fans who crowd Charlotte streets and pack the parties during CIAA week, only half of them attend games.

"That's quite alarming," the commissioner said. "Because that means they are doing something other that what the whole event is about, and that's basketball."

For the past three years, tickets have been on the decline and CIAA wants to do something about that. So far CIAA reports ticket sales are okay. The organization will now do a better job reaching out to the community to help boost ticket sales.

"Whether it's the education system and teachers," Carpenter said. "Or whether it's members of the local organizing committee of CRVA that may not have access to tickets. We are thinking out of the box. We have to continue to be creative and aggressive."

CIAA also will cut out giving away too many complimentary tickets and invitations to events that cost money. The belief is that will also help CIAA recover.

The new commissioner is also renegotiating contracts the former commissioner signed to see if there are any savings there. She is ready to overhaul the organization.

"It's not to say the former commissioner did a bad job managing it," Carpenter said. "I think the tournament grew, our events have grown, the conference has grown, maybe some things hadn't been adjusted to manage those expectations."

Officials will also target those businesses that are profiting off CIAA and not giving back to the organization.

"We are about higher education," Carpenter said. "And intercollegiate athletics, so when I see events that have inappropriate content or women or men or whatever, and it appears to be a CIAA official event that nerves me terribly."

CIAA is now suing those businesses for using the CIAA's brand for their own use. The organization thinks if they win the lawsuit, it will help CIAA bounce back financially.

"The protection of the brand is extremely important," Carpenter said. "Because if you don't protect it, how can we get more sponsors or people to buy into the product when everybody has access to it."

Tip off for the tournament is February 26th.

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