The CIAA basketball tournament will be played out in Charlotte from Feb. 23 to Feb. 28. The tournament will attract thousands of HBCU alumni, friends and partygoers who will pour upward of $30 million into the city’s economy.
Ironically, the 12 HBCUs that participate in the tournament will not receive any of those dollars they helped generate over the six days of the tournament. With the exception of money contributed to the CIAA for scholarships from various corporate sponsors and the reimbursement of traveling expenses, the HBCUs will walk away with nothing, except a trophy and T-shirts for the winner.
The other irony is that black alums are the biggest contributors to the $30 million that go into the city’s coffers. The 12 schools that many of these graduates represent, both private and public, have been struggling financially for years and continue to struggle to keep their doors open, as well as to meet fiscal requirements for accreditation.
Between 10 to 13 percent of black alumni give back to their college or university. However, the vast majority of black alumni attending the CIAA tournament will spend from $500 to $1,000 during the six days of frolicking.
Just think of the financial impact on these schools if their alumni were to give back half of what they spend at the CIAA tournament.
Julius H. Cromwell, Raleigh