What is Charlotte's future with the CIAA tournament? - | WBTV Charlotte

What is Charlotte's future with the CIAA tournament?

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

There is new concern about the future of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association's (CIAA) popular Basketball Tournament. The profitable tournament has been in Charlotte for nearly 10 years.

Charlotte City Councilman James Mitchell says there has been no buzz around the tournament that takes place in February 2014. 

"Some of the energy in the past," Mitchell said.  "That has surrounded this tournament is missing. So it's causing me some concerns and I hope we can continue to make this a top priority."

Mitchell says he has served on the CIAA's Local Organizing Committee.  That committee helps to set goals for the tournament, so it goes off without a hitch.  He claims there have been no meetings to discuss the tournament that is months away. Mitchell says next year's tournament is important. 

"I truly think," the politician said. "If we do a great job in 2014, we will increase our chances of winning the contract for 2015 through 2018." 

Charlotte must rebid next year for the tournament.  There is another concern that the CIAA has not sent out a Request for Proposal (RFP) to other cities who may want the tournament. It is usually sent out during the summer.

CIAA officials have expressed concern over getting more money from Charlotte when it comes to scholarships.  Mitchell claims there has been no movement to address CIAA's concern. 

"I think we are missing a golden opportunity during this down time," he said. "While the RFP has not been submitted it is to make sure we continue to nurture them, reach out to the Board of Directors to show that Charlotte wants the tournament here."

Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) Chief Executive Officer Tom Murray is responding to Mitchell's concerns. He says he is in constant contact with leaders of the CIAA and says they want to be handled a certain way.  They don't want Charlotte leaders to respond until the bidding process has started.

"When we don't know what's happening," Murray said. "From the client's perspective, people get nervous about it."

Murray also told WBTV the Local Organizing Committee has met. And says Councilman James Mitchell is on the committee. We asked how many times the committee has met so far to discuss CIAA 2014.

"I can't remember exactly how many times," Murray said. "But James is on that committee. He knows exactly what is happening and what is going on."

James disagrees.  He says he will contact CRVA when he gets back in town.

Murray says his office will do all it can to keep the CIAA in town. He just wants people to be patient while Mitchell is getting a little nervous. 

"If we show excitement," Mitchell said. "I think the CIAA will be excited in renewing their contract another three years in Charlotte."

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