Nov. 1, 2010

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association voted unanimously Monday on a three-year extension that will keep its prestigious basketball tournament in Charlotte through 2014.

Commissioner Leon Kerry told The Associated Press the Division II league of mostly historically black colleges and universities decided to stray from past history and hold the event in the same spot for nine straight years.

"We usually move the tournament every six years," Kerry said. "We're here because the fans love Charlotte. They like the arena, they like the things you can do in Charlotte. And we did a survey and I think 98 percent of the fans said they'd return to Charlotte."

It's a boon for the city, struggling from the recession, because the CIAA is more than just men's and women's basketball games at Time Warner Cable Arena.

The tournament brings in upward of 180,000 people and more than $20 million in economic impact for events that include celebrity-hosted parties, concerts, fashion shows, cooking shows and what's billed as the second largest fan experience behind only the NCAA Final Four.

Charlotte gained the event from Raleigh in 2006 in part because its downtown arena is within walking distance of the fan event at the convention center and numerous hotels and restaurants.

"It was clear cut. We figure that Charlotte is the place to be because of the arena, the restaurants, the hotels," Kerry said. "We've arrived and it's become a destination."

The CIAA features 13 schools after Winston-Salem State rejoined the league this year. Also in the conference are Bowie State, Chowan, Elizabeth City State, Fayetteville State, Johnson C. Smith, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Livingstone, St. Augustine's, St. Paul's, Shaw, Virginia State and Virginia Union.