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CIAA Tournament expected to draw big crowds in Baltimore

Postseason tourney to be held at Royal Farms Arena Feb. 21-26
CIAA Tournament
Posted at 2:52 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 17:33:22-05

BALTIMORE, Md. — The oldest HBCU Athletic conference in the nation is bringing its basketball tournament to Baltimore.

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association will be playing its postseason tourney inside Royal Farms Arena. Events are scheduled from February 21-26.

24 teams from a dozen historically black colleges and universities will participate. 12 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams will take the floor.

"[The] CIAA event, it’s arguably the largest African-American sports marketing event in the country," said Al Hutchinson, President & CEO of Visit Baltimore.

Over 150,000 fans have attended this tournament annually in past years, pumping nearly $50 million into the surrounding community. It has been held in Charlotte, N.C. since 2006. The Division II CIAA boasts its tournament is the third highest attended college hoops postseason tourney behind only the Big Ten and ACC.

"At the CIAA we eat, we party and we play great basketball. And what I’m certain of is that food, culture and entertainment in Baltimore aligns perfectly with CIAA basketball legacy, leadership and community," said CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams.

"Connecting the history of the CIAA with the black history of Baltimore, it’s a perfect match," said Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott. "Simply put they go together like crabs and Old Bay."

Off the court fans will be able to check out other educational and entertainment events around the city.

Bowie State University is the host this year. Bulldogs head women’s basketball coach Shadae Swan is a Baltimore native and resident.

"The city has shaped me into the person that I am with the culture of the city and the basketball community," she said. "I’m just looking forward to a huge crowd."

Royal Farms Arena is no stranger to hosting college hoops in recent years. The Maryland Terrapins played there in 2018 and 2016. The Division I Colonial Athletic Association hosted its tournament there from 2014-2016.

As far as COVID precautions, all team personnel will be tested daily. Fans are required to wear masks.

For more information on the tournament, including how to purchase tickets, click here.

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook