CHARLOTTE – Due to growing concerns related to COVID-19, the Board of Directors for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) has voted to cancel the upcoming men’s and women’s basketball seasons, which was set to begin January 9, to include the 2021 CIAA Basketball Tournament. In addition, the board also voted to cancel the women’s volleyball season, which had been moved to the spring from the fall.
"Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to challenge the conference's ability to see a clear path to move forward collectively. The impact to health and wellness, community concerns, as well as the economic ramifications are real,” said CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams. “I want to commend our Board of Directors for exemplifying courageous leadership in college sports to ensure the well-being of the CIAA as well as the health and safety of our student-athletes and communities.”
“This was not an easy decision or one that was taken lightly by the CIAA Board,” said Virginia State University President and CIAA Board Chair Dr. Makola Abdullah. “We all want to have a season, and we want our student-athletes, coaches and staff to have a season. However, the data, which changes almost daily, does not support such a decision. The potential risk outweighs the desire to play.”
In lieu of games being cancelled and no in-person events, the CIAA still plans to engage alumni, students, and fans during what is traditionally tournament week, in the last week of February, through a virtual experience. The platform will feature a host of ancillary events – including several that have become cornerstones of tournament week such as CIAA Fan Fest and the CIAA Step Show. More details, including a full schedule of events, interactive fan promotions, and other activations, will be released at a later time.
A decision on spring seasons and championships will be provided later as the conference and its membership continue to monitor the COVID-19 landscape while following current federal, state, local, NCAA, and campus guidelines.
About the CIAA
Founded in 1912, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) is the first and longest running, African American athletic conference in the U.S. and one of the most recognized conferences in Division II. The CIAA conducts 14 championships attended by more than 150,000 fans from around the country. In 2020, the conference celebrated the special 75th anniversary of its Championship Basketball Tournament - an event that has become a must-see in the African American community. The Basketball Tournament has been honored as a Champion of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism by Sports Destination Management, the leading publication with the largest circulation of sports event planners and tournament directors in the sports tourism market, for both 2018 and 2019. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, the CIAA is governed by the Presidents and Chancellors of its 12 member-institutions: Bowie State University, Claflin University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Johnson C. Smith University, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Livingstone College, Saint Augustine's University, Shaw University, Virginia State University, Virginia Union University, and Winston-Salem State University. Chowan University is an associate member in football and women’s bowling. For more information on the CIAA, visit theciaa.com, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.