The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) is the oldest African American based sports conference in our proud country.
For decades this conference and it’s basketball tournament have graced North Carolina bringing in not only revenue, but festivities and great sportsmanship as well. Some of the greatest hoopers in the history of the game both college stars and NBA legends have suited up to compete for the prestigious tournament crown over the last 7 decades years.
It’s amazing to see what it’s become after such humble beginnings the tournament was started with a 500$ budget and now brings in over 50 million dollars a year. Some of the greatest basketball minds have coached and strolled those sidelines the atmosphere there overall is like nothing else. Featured on ESPN champions week something no Division II conference has ever accomplished.
The biggest platform in sports broadcasting the passion and emotion of these great programs so millions could witness memorable basketball.
Unfortunately at some point the social and party scenes took over and somewhere we became more concerned with Rap Beef than the actual tournament itself. Headlines of gunshots flurrying through Charlotte involving two rappers that have no ties to NC in the first place stole the weekend.
Hoops and Hip Hop have been tied together since the beginning the two cultures have too many similarities not to cross paths. The sad thing is Hip Hop has become the focal point of CIAA weekend and a senseless shooting overshadowed Bowie State and Johnson C Smith.
In case you were oblivious like majority of the public these two schools were crowned champions in the men’s and women’s divisions respectively. Both teams overachieved and really came together during their tournament run.
Bowie State was in 8th place coming in and were a longshot for postseason play but they were able to keep their season alive a true Cinderella story. For the lady Golden Bulls the title was another notch in an already successful season. This is the news that should be receiving more coverage.
We forget this tournament is for sport it’s for the kids the student athletes.
These hoopers lay it all on the line for their universities, for pride, and for postseason aspirations. No other collegiate tournament around is overtaken by hip hop culture the way CIAA weekend is.
One of few NCAA sanctioned post season events that still resigned in our proud state after so many others were vacated. The CIAA deserves better and so do all the people involved that sacrificed so this event can still carry on today.
We need to sit back and really remember what this tournament is all about because somewhere we lost our appreciation for the game.