The History of the CIAA
The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) was founded in 1912 as the Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association andis the oldest African-
American athletic conference in the nation. The CIAA consists of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) spanning the east coast from
Pennsylvania to North Carolina: Bowie State University, Chowan University, Fayetteville State University, Johnson C. Smith University, Elizabeth City
State University, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Livingstone College, Saint Augustine's College, Shaw University, Virginia State University, Virginia
Union University, and Winston-Salem State University. The CIAA is comprised of both private and public colleges and universities with enrollments
ranging from 750 - 7,000 students. Eighty percent of CIAA alumni reside in District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia.
The CIAA is incorporated in the District of Columbia and is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. The conference is headquartered in Hampton, Virginia
and is governed by the twelve Presidents and Chancellors of its member institutions.
The conference holds championships annually in the following sports: Men's and Women's Cross Country; Volleyball; Football; Men's and Women's
Indoor and Outdoor Track; Men's and Women's Basketball; Women's Bowling; Men's and Women's Tennis; Golf; Baseball and Softball. In addition to its
outstanding basketball history, the CIAA pioneered the divisional conference football championship game format. In 1970, after dividing the conference
into Northern and Southern Divisions, the CIAA played the first conference football championship game in college football history in Petersburg, Virginia.
The first black college football game was also played between CIAA schools, Livingstone College and Biddle (now Johnson C. Smith University) in 1893.
Academic success is a staple of the conference. The CIAA recognizes the academic achievement of its student-athletes annually by naming its top student-
athletes to the Commissioner's All-Academic Team. The conference also recognizes the Male and Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year for student-athletes
who have excelled on the field and in the classroom.
CIAA student-athletes have achieved success in the professional ranks. Ben Wallace, former basketball standout from Virginia Union University, was
named to the 2004 Olympic Team and was instrumental in helping the NBA Detroit Pistons win the 2004 NBA Championship. Charles Oakley also from
Virginia Union has played with the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, and Toronto Raptors. Darrell Armstrong of Fayetteville State University recently
retired from the NBA New Jersey Nets and Ronald Murray of Shaw University currently plays with the NBA Chicago Bulls. Most recently, Greg Taylor of
St. Paul's College was selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the 31st round of the 2009 NFL draft.
CIAA alumni who found success in professional sports include Earl "The Pearl" Monroe (Winston-Salem State University), Sam Jones (North Carolina
Central University), Earl Lloyd (West Virginia State University), and Bobby Dandridge (Norfolk State University). The late John McClendon and C.E. "Big
House" Gaines are coaching legends and pioneers.
The CIAA alumni list boasts some of the country's prominent leaders. They include: the late Reginald Lewis (the owner of the first black billion dollar
business - Beatrice Foods); the late Maynard Jackson (first black mayor of Atlanta, GA); Douglas Wilder (first elected black governor - Virginia); Art Shell
(the first black NFL head coach in the modern era); and Andrew Young (the first black United States Ambassador to the United Nations).
The CIAA receives significant support from corporate America. Over the past 12 years companies such as Bank of America, Coca-Cola USA, Food Lion,
Nationwide Insurance, Nike, McDonald's, Russell Athletic, the United States Army have assisted the conference in more than $13.5 million in scholarships
for its member institutions and an more than $23 million for other championships and television. With the help of these sponsors, the CIAA was the first
NCAA Division II conference to have its tournament televised as part of Championship Week on ESPN.
One of the nation's premier sporting events is the annual CIAA Basketball Tournament. Touted as the third most attended basketball tournament among
all NCAA divisions, the first tournament was a 2,000 seat sellout in Washington, D.C. The CIAA Tournament recorded consecutive sellouts in the 20,000
seat RBC Center, located in Raleigh, NC when the city was awarded the event in 2000 and 2003. The 2013 CIAA Tournament, in its eighth year in the
"Queen City", Charlotte, NC, will bring some190,000 fans during the course of the week, with an economic impact exceeding $40 million. Since 2000, the
CIAA has generated nearly $300 million in economic impact for the state of North Carolina.
Tournament Week offers events for every social palate including parties, numerous educational and healthy-living components, step shows, and a battle of
the bands. The men's and women's tournaments are held simultaneously and their respective championship games are on Saturday evening.
The CIAA has received national recognition by being featured in EBONY magazine for six consecutive years, USA Today, UPTOWN magazine, Sister 2
Sister magazine, VIBE magazine, and Essence magazine.
The CIAA is undoubtedly celebrated as a conference of "firsts". Its innate spirit of ingenuity and innovation continues to keep the CIAA in the forefront;
blazing trails for other conferences to follow. As the CIAA concludes its first 100 years of excellence in athletic competition, the conference and its
member institutions continue to build on the rich and honorable traditions of its past; while providing leadership into the future.
1830s - First HBCUs were established in the country
1892 - Livingstone College and Johnson C. Smith University (then Biddle University) played in the first football game between two African-American
1912 - The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association was founded in Hampton, VA. When the conference was founded, it was originally known as the
Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association. It's founding fathers were Allen Washington and C.H. Williams of Hampton Institute; Ernest J. Marshall of
J.W. Pierce of Virginia Union University.
1920 - The Pittsburgh Courier selected the first unofficial black college basketball champions, Howard and Talledega
1927 - There were a total of 77 HBCUs enrolling almost 14,000 students
1946 - First CIAA Basketball Tournament.
John B. McLendon, now known as the "Father of Black Basketball," along with Talmadge Hall, John Burr and Harry Jefferson formed the first CIAA
basketball tournament in a small gymnasium in Washington, D.C. on a $500 budget. The tournament was played in Turner Arena. Many southern cities
didn't want a predominantly Black collegiate conference in their venues and didn't rent to the CIAA. And when the conference finally secured Turner
Arena, the players had to sleep on the floor because they weren't allowed in the hotels. Still, students and fans turned out at the gymnasium for that first
1954 - Brown V. The Board of Education desegregated public schools
1965 - The NCAA began accepting black colleges for membership
1967- NBA Hall of Famer Earl "The Pearl" Monroe played for Coach Clarence "Big House" Gaines at Winston-Salem State and helped his team win the
Division-II national title.
1973 - NCAA Division II and III playoffs began
1980 - Virginia Union Panthers won the NCAA Division II Championship
1988 - CIAA Tournament moves to Richmond, VA
1989 - President George Bush issued Executive Order 12677 to strengthen the capacity of HBCUs to provide quality education and to increase their
participation in federally sponsored programs.
1990 - Leon Kerry named Commissioner of CIAA
1992 - The Virginia Union Panthers won the NCAA Division II Championship
1994 - CIAA Tournament moves to Winston-Salem, NC
1998 – CIAA secures the largest sponsorship package in history among HBCU conferences and Division II when Coca Cola North America signed a five
year, $2 million agreement with the CIAA.
2000 - The CIAA2000.com website is believed to be the first college sports internet homepage developed singularly for one event, the CIAA Basketball
- The CIAA Tournament moves to Raleigh, NC
2005 - CIAA teamed up with ESPN to create the largest HBCU conference television package in history
- The Virginia Union Panthers win the NCAA Division II Basketball Championship and visit the White House
2006 – The CIAA Tournament moves to the city of Charlotte
– The CIAA sets a Tournament record by drawing over 124,114 fans and $15.4 in economic impact
2007 – The CIAA sets a new Tournament record by drawing over 165,000 fans and $27.7 million in economic impact to Charlotte
2008 – ‘Black Magic’ featuring the CIAA becomes the most watched documentary in ESPN history
– Former ‘Lady Viking’ Celeste Trahan became the first woman in NCAA Division II history to record 2,000 points and 1,500 rebounds in a career
– The CIAA sets a new Tournament record by drawing over 181,000 fans and $30.7 million in economic impact to Charlotte
– Chowan University is voted as a full member of the CIAA
– Barack Obama is elected as the first African American President of the United States of America. (44th President)
– CIAA renews another three-year contract with Charlotte
– CIAA welcomes Nationwide Insurance as the “Official Insurance Provider” for the CIAA
2009 – The CIAA sets a new Tournament economic impact record by drawing over $38.2 million to Charlotte
– CIAA Board of Directors vote to re-admit WSSU to the conference
– CIAA welcomes TV One as a new “Official Broadcast Partner”
2010 - CIAA Welcomes Toyota as the "Official Automotive Sponsor" for the CIAA
- CIAA renews another three-year contract with Charlotte
2011 - CIAA sets a new Tournament economic impact record by drawing over $44.3 million to Charlotte
- CIAA sets a new Tournament attendance record by drawing over 190,000 fans during the week-long event
2012- Jacqie Carpenter named CIAA Commissioner