NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced the league would take the unprecedented step to move its 2017 all-star weekend from Charlotte in opposition to North Carolina’s House Bill 2 on July 21. The law – which denies public bathroom access to non-birth gendered individuals – won’t impact America’s premiere HBCU basketball event.

CIAA Tourney Venue

Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte remains home to the CIAA Tournament despite the NBA moving its All Star Weekend in opposition to North Carolina’s HB2 anti-LGBTQ law. (

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) remains committed to keeping its conference offices in Charlotte and hosting its championships in North Carolina.  Its signature event – The CIAA Tournament – is the largest basketball tournament in NCAA Division II and third largest overall will stay in Charlotte through 2020. It will be held at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte in 2017.

CIAA Basketball has one of the richest traditions in college sports history.  Prior to integration it was best basketball conference in America.  CIAA alumni have made significant contributions as innovations and pioneers of the game.  Earl Lloyd, the NBA’s first Black player, is an alumnus having played in college at West Virginia State. (Full disclosure: I have been the national radio voice of the CIAA Football & Basketball championships on Heritage Sports Radio Network since 2009.)

Hall of Fame players Sam Jones and Earl Monroe trace their roots to the CIAA as does legendary Harlem Globetrotter Curly Neal. Coaching legends Clarence “Big House” Gaines and John McClendon – regarded as the father of fast break basketball –  innovated the game by creating the stage for Black players who were denied chances to play at major colleges.

Maryland is represented in the 12-member conference by Bowie State University who has won two men’s basketball championships and played in the football championship game last year.

After being on the front lines of the civil rights movement the CIAA said it will remain in North Carolina, despite its objections to the law.  The power of corporate ties and long term civic commitments make it difficult for the CIAA to play politics in a highly charged moral debate. When negotiating its deal for the basketball tournament to remain in Charlotte in 2014 the conference also agreed to move its headquarters to Charlotte.

Despite the NBA distancing itself from Charlotte other athletic organizations remain committed to hosting events in the region. The Atlantic Coast Conference football championship will stay in Charlotte through 2019. Their 2019 and 2020 men’s basketball tournament’s continue in Charlotte and Greensboro respectively.   All NASCAR events and the PGA Tour’s event at Quail Hollow will remain in North Carolina.

However, 13 conventions and nine concerts including Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper, and Pearl Jam have cancelled dates in protest. Cirque du Soleil also rescinded previous commitments to North Carolina.

The Charlotte Convention and Visitor’s Bureau reportedly claims the loss of the All Star weekend will have a $100,000,000 impact on the city.  However, that’s a one-time hit.  The CIAA Tournament’s financial impact is nearly $56,000,000 annually and even a temporary move would be more devastating.

While the profile of the NBA casts a larger magnifying glass on the state’s position towards LGBTQ values, it continues to put the CIAA in the unenviable place to defend keeping its marquee event in North Carolina beyond 2020.   The conference is recovering from a financial crisis left by its previous administration and doesn’t have the leverage to vehemently support this cause.

The CIAA, in statement, said, “it strongly disagrees with HB2” and “as we assess current and future championship locations, the CIAA will ensure that the host city and venue demonstrate a commitment to provide inclusive and non-discriminatory practices.”