CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Leaders from the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) are protecting the organization's brand. A team started a few months ago scouring the internet, Eventbrite, and reviewing hashtags that take on the image of the CIAA.
"If people are using our logo and likeness incorrectly, our lawyer reaches out to them with a cease and desist," CIAA Senior Associate Commissioner for Strategic Marketing and External Operations Suzette McQueen said.
McQueen says some companies have already been warned about their actions this year. CIAA is on the defense about some people thinking the popular basketball tournament is unsafe because of criminal activity that has happened at some unsanctioned CIAA events.
Wednesday night, a person was shot in the leg outside a club at an unsanctioned event near the Spectrum Center. There have also been fights and shootings at other unsanctioned events down through the years.
CIAA leaders say it's not fair to bring down the more than 100-year-old organization with what happens at unapproved events.
"There are so many wonderful things that we are doing that are official," McQueen said. "To be tied to something that we are not associated with is disappointing."
CIAA leaders want the event to be known for the community service projects the tournament offers and the educational opportunities for students.
Leaders say there has been no trouble at a sanctioned tournament event since it's been in Charlotte for the past 13 years. There is proper security in place at those events to help keep fans safe. CIAA wants fans to know how they can tell if an event is sanctioned or not sanctioned.
"Anything that's not part of our app or our website is not the CIAA," McQueen said.
Leaders know they can't stop promoters from coming to town during the CIAA. They come so they can make money off the more than 100,000 fans who come to town. Leaders are stressing to fans to be careful what events they attend. There are many lined up labeled as tournament events.
CIAA leaders say they will continue to be aggressive about protecting the organization's brand. They also don't want the community to fault the CIAA for the actions of other businesses.