As We Lay: Poor negotiating with Charlotte has cost the CIAA more than money

*WARNING: You will need to be somewhat fluent in old school R&B to get this post. For those uninitiated, we have provided links*

“It’s morning…and we slept the night away…”

Good morning, CIAA. Did you sleep well?

Charlotte sure did treat you good, didn’t it? Got you to leave little old Raleigh. Picked you up in a limo. Wined and dined you. Put a little change in your pocket. Introduced you to some celebrities. And then took you to the penthouse to seal the deal.

Drunk in love with the flashing lights and the media attention, you signed your name on the dotted line. The lights went out. And, well, you know the rest.

“It happened. Now it’s time for us to say bye-bye…”

Except, unlike Shirley, you can’t.

While the rest of the NCAA (not to mention the NBA) pulls out of the Tar Heel State as a result of the discriminatory, ugly nature of House Bill 2, the CIAA is stuck in the penthouse alone watching while the rest of the world passes by and leaves the state to deal with the mess the Republican governor Pat McCrory and his cronies have put it in.

One day after the NCAA announced its decision to effectively pull out of North Carolina due to the controversial HB2 and one day before the ACC announced it was doing the same, the CIAA proclaimed that it will continue to remain closely tied to North Carolina and its biggest city.

While CIAA commissioner Jacqie McWilliams continued to express that while the conference does not support discrimination of any time, it will not be moving 10 of its 14 championships away from the state, including its signature basketball tournament.

“The decision whether or not to relocate our championships is at the discretion of the CIAA Board of Directors. Our priority is always to provide our student-athletes the opportunity to compete, serve, and create impact within their communities and the CIAA footprint,” McWilliams wrote in a statement.

“We should have counted up the cost. But instead we got lost in the second.  In the minute. In the hour…”

The CIAA, the oldest conference for historically black colleges and universities, isn’t in a position to move its highly-profitable basketball tournament thanks to getting in bed with Charlotte without being properly compensated.

If the conference had a better deal, they’d be financially in a better position to boycott the state and HB2. But instead of negotiating from a position of power as an economic force the helps the city pull in over $30 million in revenue, they allowed themselves to be jived like a talented young musician that doesn’t know his worth.

The 12 schools that make up the league are currently dividing $1.4 million per year. Out of more than $30 million that the conference annually brings in.

“We forgot about tomorrow…as we lay. Didn’t think about the price we’d have to pay.” 

The CIAA could threaten to leave Charlotte, and indeed, the entire state. But it would have to break multiple contracts in Charlotte, Durham, and other places. The only way the conference could pull out of the state is if the NCAA gets involved or some city outside the state decides to pony up the cost. (Here’s looking at you, Richmond.)

So, effectively, the conference is stuck. Stuck in Charlotte. Stuck in North Carolina. Stuck with a public relations nightmare. Stuck in a toxic relationship with someone that provides just enough to get by and sustain while not treating it as an equal partner.

The price the CIAA has had to pay Charlotte for its basketball tournament is its ability to stand its moral high ground.

The CIAA has never been about discrimination, It was actually created as a result of discrimination as black colleges were not being invited to join conferences with predominately white institutions back in 1912. That is the CIAA’s legacy for more than a century, but its deal with Charlotte has the conference lost and turned out as it continues to buy it a new Seville every year.



  1. Valonda Calloway

    September 15, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Spot on! Clever piece.

  2. ER Photography

    September 15, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    I can not believe the CIAA has signed this contract without a way to get out. Who does that?!?!? It would be beautiful if you can go to Norfolk. With the renovation of Waterside aimed to open right before March Madness. And the MEAC happens right after the CIAA. WIN WIN!!!

  3. Julius Coxswain

    September 15, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    No one is checking for any event happening in Norfolk. There aren't enough hotels and the crime rate is way too high. Charlotte got the best of the CIAA during the negotiations, but the city and the conference will still make good money in February. Most folk attend the CI to party anyway and I am fairly certain most of them do not care about HB2…even though they should care.

  4. Rick Franklin

    September 15, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    The 1.4 million the schools are getting in Charlotte was an increase of what they were receiving when it was in Raleigh…..when the tournament decided to move to Charlotte back in 2006 no other city bid even that much and the tournament actually became more popular once it relocated. They just renegotiated again 2 years ago and apparently no other city made a better offer than the one they ultimately signed to remain in Charlotte. To me that says more about the other cities than it does Charlotte and the CIAA.

  5. Al Mitchell

    September 15, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Been saying it for the longest time. The CIAA and it's member schools are being “pimped”. This piece is SPOT ON!

  6. Jarrett Carter Sr

    September 15, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    This is all BS. In April the CIAA was adamant about staying within the aftermath of HB2. But now that predominantly white conferences and the NCAA itself say go, fans and the conference are backpedaling? We should've been the first ones out of the state. I said it in April,
    I said it this week, and I'll keep saying it – the CIAA should've have terminated business with the Ritz Carlton, should've left on HB2, should've left on SB873, and should've left on the voting suppression bill. We stayed for all of that. And now, we're outclassed and alone on the notion of sticking up for oppressed people and ideas. Shame on our leadership, and us as fans for cosigning the foolishness and not demanding better.

  7. Rick Franklin

    September 15, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Great post….

  8. Unknown

    September 16, 2016 at 4:08 am

    Very well articulated. I never felt welcome in Charlotte. The tournament imo used to be about the students, fans and alumni. It's all about special interests and status/class elitism. Rather watch it on TV. Move the tournament for Mr. CIAA. (Just smacked myself)

  9. Darren Nelson

    September 17, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Nice thought, but I think this is assuming another city offered more than the tiny bit Charlotte offers. Are we saying the CIAA took less to be in Charlotte? Are we willing to have not just an empty arena for the lead up games, but also an empty arena for the championship games as well? Also remember Charlotte voted to stop the discrimination and the state is who made the wrong decision. There are a lot of layers to this. I wish the CIAA could have been the first to pull out. I wish our conference was valuable to more than just us.

  10. Billl C

    September 18, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Al we have placed this person at the helm with no vision or resolve for the future. I would agree with you except we are the pimp AND the pimped.

  11. Nat Wilson

    September 19, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    Were the powers that be not paying attention to all of the oppressive laws that Pat McCrory signed? There is a proverbial list of acts that would warrant leaving NC. Wake up leadership.

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