THE HISTORY OF THE CIAA
The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) was founded and incorporated in the District of Columbia in 1912 as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization as the Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association; adopting its current name in December 1950. The conference is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina and is governed by a Board of twelve (12) Presidents and Chancellors representing institutions from Pennsylvania to North Carolina; comprised of both private and public colleges and universities with enrollments ranging from 750 to over 8,000 students.
The CIAA is one of America’s oldest athletic conferences; producing championships annually in the following sports: Men’s and Women’s Cross Country; Volleyball; Football; Men’s and Women’s Indoor and Outdoor Track; Men’s and Women’s Basketball; Women’s Bowling; Men’s and Women’s Tennis; Golf; Baseball and Softball.
Of the 16 championships produced by the CIAA, its annual basketball tournament has evolved from a 2,000 seat sell out in Washington, D.C. during the inaugural tournament, into one of the nation’s premier sporting events attracting over 190,000 fans during the course of the week, and now touted as the third highest attended basketball tournament among all NCAA divisions.
The CIAA tournament is the quintessential cultural experience offering official events appealing to a diverse demographic of alumni and fans, to include educational programming, community engagement, Fan Fest, Super Saturday, step-shows, concerts, and most importantly, 22 action-packed basketball games. It’s also one of few basketball tournaments in the nation that features men and women competitions in the same facility, during the same week.
Over the past 10 years, the CIAA has generated over $325 million in economic impact for the “Queen City”, Charlotte, N.C., while annually generating over $55 million for the host city. With the support of the City of Charlotte and CIAA corporate partners such as Coca-Cola USA, Nationwide, Food Lion, Toyota and Russell Athletic, the conference has secured over $20 million in scholarship dollars for its member institutions over the past 13 years, averaging $1.5 million annually.
Academic success is a staple of the conference. The CIAA recognizes the academic achievements of its student-athletes annually by naming its top student-athletes to the Commissioner’s All-Academic Team. The conference also recognizes the Male and Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year for student-athletes who have excelled on the field and in the classroom.
A brand synonymous to none, the CIAA is a crown jewel within college sports. Its annual tournament drives the distinct familiarity of the conference, generating national exposure with media and major corporations who acknowledge the athletic association’s exceptional value. Powered by vision and innovation, the CIAA continues to pursue brand prominence in all avenues that will strengthen the foundation of this historic conference.