The 2018 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Tournament returns to the Queen City for its 13th year on Feb. 27, drawing thousands of conference fans, alumni and students to Charlotte. In addition to the excitement on the court, there are dozens of official CIAA celebrations and events everyone can enjoy.
The basketball action begins at the historic Bojangles’ Coliseum on Feb. 27 with early round game sessions and culminates with the championship game at Spectrum Center on March 3. But you don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy the festivities the CIAA brings to town.
Here are five ways to get the most out of all the CIAA Tournament has to offer.
Discover Free Fun for the Whole Family
The Toyota Fan Fest features entertainment for fans of all ages. Kicking off on March 2 at the Charlotte Convention Center, the two-day event presents opportunities for celebrity meet-n-greets, interactive games and giveaways. The Sneaker Showcase and performance from Bell Biv Devoe are can’t-miss affairs.
For a pep rally experience taken to the extreme, check out Super Saturday. Cheerleading exhibitions and a performance by Ayo and Teo will get the crowd fired up for the on court action to come.
Develop Your Off the Court Skills
It may be the men’s and women’s basketball tournament champions who get to take home the coveted CIAA Championship trophy, but the players aren’t the only ones who stand to win big during the tournament. The CIAA also hosts an annual Career Expo on March 1 designed to provide employers, recruitment officers and graduate school recruiters the opportunity to meet with current and former students from CIAA member-schools and other universities in the Charlotte area.
For more practice drills to sharpen your thinking skills, RSVP to the Minority Business and Leadership Symposium on March 1, which will include a keynote speaker, networking sessions, a business luncheon and the featured panel discussion, “Wealth and Prosperity…How Do We Get There?”
Celebrate with Celebs and Music Masterminds
The CIAA tournament is known for hosting some of the biggest parties of the year, packed with celebrity guests and performances by chart-topping artists. The CIAA Celebrity Charity Basketball Game will be on March 3 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Spectrum Center. Following the celebrity match up, “The Lifestyle Specialist” Kenny Burns will be hosting this year’s sold out Celebrity Charity Basketball Game Official After Party with over 40 special guests, including DJ Clue, DJ Crush Groovery, Tank Jim Jones, Ayo & Teo and more.
Other official events include the CIAA Old School Skate Party held at Kate’s Skating Rink off Independence Blvd and featuring DJ Cleve on March 1, and the CIAA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, featuring the 2018 class on March 2.
Step up Your Step Game
On March 2, steppers from fraternities and sororities representing CIAA’s member schools and other historically black colleges and universities from around the country will compete at the Step Show Throwdown, hosted by Power 98 FM’s No-Limit Larry and Jay Dukes as well as DC Young Fly from Wild’n Out. The event is known to sell out before doors open, so be sure to grab your tickets early. The show will be followed by the High School Step Show Step-Off on March 3, hosted by Wild’n Out’s Darren Brand and Chico Bean.
Embrace the Full Fan Experience
Founded in 1912, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) is the nation’s first African-American athletic conference and one of the most recognized in Division II. With an estimated economic impact of $55.1 million to Charlotte, the CIAA tournament is the third largest behind the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Big Ten Conference among all National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournaments.
The men’s and women’s tournaments will be held simultaneously with their respective quarterfinals, semifinals, and championship finals on March 1 – March 3 at Spectrum Center.
All-session game tickets provide fans with access to 22 action-packed games, vendors, food, and live performances by national recording artists Dru Hill, Sevyn Streeter, Olivia, Sunshine Anderson and more. Tickets can be purchased at www.ciaatournament.org/tickets or on-site at both venues’ box offices.
For a full list of official CIAA events and to purchase tickets visit http://www.ciaatournament.org/.