Will the CIAA stay or go? - | WBTV Charlotte

Will the CIAA stay or go?

(WBTV/File) (WBTV/File)

Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) is still deciding whether or not to stay or leave North Carolina when it comes to its tournaments. 

The CIAA football championship is to be played in Durham, NC in November, and the basketball tournament played in Charlotte, NC next year. Durham tourism officials said the CIAA told them nothing has been officially canceled, it's still up to the Board of Directors. 

Leaders are concerned over the uncertainty. They said if CIAA leaves Durham, it will be a major blow to its economy. The football championship is expected to pump $2.1 million into the local economy.

The controversial House Bill 2 Law has the CIAA concerned. The law mandates people use the bathroom of the gender that’s indicated on their birth certificates and not the bathroom they identify with. Leaders want to be sure all feel welcomed when they come to North Carolina for the CIAA event.

Charlotte leaders are also concerned. Last year, the tournament pumped more than $40 million into the local economy. Businesses look forward to the event every year. Politicians don't like the thought of CIAA leaving.

"It would be devastating to our community." Charlotte City councilman James Mitchell said.

Mitchell has been talking to CIAA leaders about staying in Charlotte. He tells them Charlotte is a welcoming place that is safe. He believes Charlotte also offers a great venue for the popular basketball tournament. But that might not be enough. HB2 has a negative impact on fans.

"Yes that has," Mitchell said. "And there has been serious conversations that the board is having and it kind of scares us quite frankly. And so we are going to do all we can to make sure the student athletes have a great experience, the fans will have a great experience and it continues to raise additional money for scholarships."

Mitchell said because of HB2, the only sports tournaments left in Charlotte are the PGA Golf and the CIAA. He said he will continue to ask the CIAA what more can be done to keep the event in the Queen City.

The politician said the city lawyer is not reviewing what it will take for CIAA to break its contract.

"We are not even looking at that 'what if,'" Mitchell said.

CIAA officials said there is nothing to report at this time. The Board of Directors may have something to say Friday.

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