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Dee Todd On CIAA: If You Want A Basketball Tournment…Get Out Of Charlotte

Delores “Dee” Todd has spent much of her 30-plus year career as a student-athlete and administrator at HBCUs. The WSSU alumna is a member of the CIAA and Winston-Salem State Hall of Fame and served as athletic director at NC A&T in addition to working at the ACC. She recently posted this note in a Facebook group, and has allowed us to publish it. 

The CIAA will never be what our founding fathers dreamed of over a 100 years ago. Believe me I understand that we live in a different world today and our priorities are very different! BUT keeping the tournament in Charlotte will guarantee our forefathers vision will never be again.

I as many of my friends were involved in the evolution of the CIAA tournament. As a cheerleader at WSSU we looked forward to being in that number of teams that went to the tournament in Greensboro. Ever since my Hall of Fame induction in 2001 in Raleigh, I have missed few tournaments with the last two in Charlotte. Why? It seems that few people that go to Charlotte even know there happens to be a basketball tournament that our future attendees are playing basketball and cheering or playing in the band. 

The bands hardly play and the cheerleaders rarely have the chance to cheer because there is so much commercializing at each time-outs. Halftime is full of other stuff like introducing the presidents and their spouses parade across the floor! The area is almost empty except for the few loyal fans from the schools playing. 

Think back, it was not like that in Raleigh, Winston-Salem only in Charlotte. Why would any of these groups want to return as alumni to something they had little to no involvement? The gifts for the teams are so so at best. The trophies are nothing to write home about. And why are we giving a trophy to the runner-up? Nobody remembers who came in second, as a coach you want to take your team and get the hell out of there. 

No we make you sit and watch the team that just beat your a– and pick up your second place dust collector! Go outside and you see more police then people at the games. Girls walking around with hardly any clothes on and have no idea what a basketball looks or feels like. Everything price-wise is jacked up because they know we will pay for a party and clothes. 

I happen to know this first hand because the ACC tournament has been in Charlotte many times. The hotels are NOT as high, the food, parking none of that is as high. Also, the local organizing committee buys the gifts for the entire travel squad for each team of 30 gifts. The cost of each gift is no less than $300 face value. They don’t even blink an eye. 

The city of Charlotte does not make as much money on the ACC as they do the CIAA cause people come to go to the tournament. So, if you want a basketball tournament experience that our future will want to come back to get out of Charlotte. If you want to party and spend your money on sub-par hotel rooms stay in Charlotte!!! 

I fail to mention that the Media gets treated like orphans for all the work they do at the CIAA. Go to any other tournament and see the difference. Our priorities are not the same! Sorry about this thesis but I had to get this off my mind!



  1. $pacious Places

    February 24, 2014 at 4:47 am

    Ms. Todd is telling the truth… CIAA you need to listen…

  2. Monica Edwards

    February 25, 2014 at 4:24 am


  3. Rick Franklin

    February 25, 2014 at 6:02 am

    Charlotte is not the problem. The problem is that the commissioner needs to figure out a way to better market her product to make people want to attend the games. Plain and simple. If she doesn't do that, its not going to matter WHERE the tournament goes. The result is gonna be the same. How is simply moving it out of Charlotte going to accomplish anything? It wont translate into fewer parties or higher game attendance. (there will probably be MORE parties actually) Truth be told its really not about game attendance or any of those other factors. Its about money. Charlotte made about 50 million each of the past 2 years and she wants some. Charlotte gives the CIAA 1 million up front. They only got 340,000 when it was in Raleigh. If she wants more, negotiate it. You cant compare the tournament now to when it was there (Raleigh) almost a decade ago. It has grown immensely since being in Charlotte. Both in numbers and popularity. It brings about 200,000 people yearly to Charlotte so the numbers are there. She needs to get some of that crowd to the games. Also you can not compare it to the ACC tournament. Two TOTALLY different animals altogether. The reason hotel rates and such are cheaper for ACC is because the hotels aren't all selling out for ACC. Complaining about that is like complaining about hotel prices at the beach being higher in July than they are in January. Whenever you have a peak season in ANYTHING prices go up. That's just business 101. And CIAA is peak season in Charlotte. If the commissioner decides to move the tournament and does not step up her marketing game, the only difference in the tournament will be that its in a new city. So…if you want a basketball tournament experience that our future will want to come back to….tell the commissioner to step up her marketing campaign. If you want to party and spend your money on sub-par hotel rooms…move it to a new city and tell the commissioner NOT to step up her marketing campaign. Simply leaving Charlotte wont change a thing.

  4. mystified52

    February 25, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    I fully understand what this lady is saying but who's to say that at this day and time the same things won't happen elsewhere? Times have changed! People, and more so our kids have changed! I really don't agree with her saying that Charlotte is the problem. How in the world can she think that she can go to another city and the people won't be partying and half dressing! That is going to happen. Ms. Todd get real. If you want to leave Charlotte leave it at that but don't blame Charlotte for not the low attendance, and the moral of the tournament itself.

  5. bambamnupe3

    February 25, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly with Rick and mystified52. Ms. Todd's argument does not hold water. Leave Charlotte if you want! In the past year, I have heard cities such as Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Norfolk, Winston-Salem, and Raleigh talked about as a future site of the CIAA. First off, Atlanta shouldn't even be in the conversation! There are NO CIAA member schools south of North Carolina anyway. Why would you move a tournament with member schools between Pennsylvania and North Carolina to Atlanta? That's just stupid! True, there are CIAA alums in Atlanta, but do you think their presence there is going to translate into larger crowds at the games? I seriously doubt it. I live in the DC area and am a Bowie State alum. Bring it here if you want! Guess what? While a more sensible move geographically, do you think we don't party in DC or Baltimore? If you move it to a smaller locale like Winston, Raleigh, or Norfolk there will still be parties albeit not as many. I am in my mid-40's. As long as I have known about CIAA it has been known at the “Party Tournament” even when I was a child and it was in Norfolk at the Norfolk Scope.

    If the commissioner is going to move the damn tournament, at least move it somewhere it makes sense to go. The member schools have to work into their budget each year how to get the coaches, players, cheerleaders, pep bands, etc. to the tournament. If you move it to Atlanta, that's farther for all teams to travel, and therefore, more money they have to spend! Think of poor Lincoln U!

    In the end, this is a $$$$$ issue. It has NOTHING to do with the host city. Charlotte is making money hand over fist during the CIAA. Why won't the CIAA commissioner sit down and negotiate a larger slice of the pie? I am sure the city of Charlotte would be amenable. That would be more money for the conference and the member schools to share. It's simple economics. Atlanta will jack up room prices and make money as well. I've already invited you to bring it here to DC and see what happens. The CIAA in ANY city is no different than what happens to the city that hosts the Super Bowl, the NBA All-Star Game, or the Olympics! Get a grip here people. Charlotte is not the problem!

  6. Eve's Descendant

    February 26, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Sorry..this is long. I respectfully disagree that changing venues would fix the problem. Would you tell the folk at Essence Fest to simply leave New Orleans if they want more concert goers versus revelers who come to just be in town for the atmosphere? Because of this, I believe it is not as simple as 'the commissioner needs to up her marketing game'. The CIAA became widely known as the 'party beyond what's happening on the court' way before Commissioner Carpenter arrived and so changing this mindset of the African American general public will not happen in a few years. I happen to know for a fact that she is committed to making the CIAA a more efficiently run conference (not just tournament) including making sure that the focus is on the education of the student-athletes and the opportunities they are afforded as students at one of the HBCU schools. Unfortunately, it is not a fair comparison to the ACC and other big game conference schools for many reasons including the media representation of their sports, the financial support behind their sports and the fact that they would not have allowed so many outside vendors to profit on their name and brand from the jump. The change won't happen overnight and would happen more quickly if we all start/continue to support the CIAA if we truly care about the integrity of it.

  7. onlyjaz

    March 16, 2014 at 5:51 am

    At present, the CIAA has another 6 years and it has been profitable for Charlotte as well as the conference. Traditions are great yet we are presently in a profit driven society. As MEAC “royalty”, I am more disappointed by Ms. Todd's approval to print her opinion with all the grammatical and spelling errors. FB is one thing, as symbols and abbreviations are the norm yet it is evident that this former AD could care less about what others who read this think about her ability to put 2 sentences together, let alone spell. Though spelling and grammar were not the topics, it is a sad sign when we adults hound youth about their lack of writing prowess yet let educators send out poor writing and not hold them to a higher standard. I, too, am an HBCU grad.

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