Let’s have a responsible conversation about the CIAA tournament and Charlotte

CharlotteFive archives
CharlotteFive archives

Every year, there’s a discussion about Charlotte and the CIAA Tournament that totally misses the point.

I notice it in casual conversations, my social media feeds, and most every media outlet that covers Charlotte. Discussions that should be about improving the event and Charlotte’s role with the tournament often descend into emotionally charged arguments exclusively about race.

Here’s the truth: There are several factors that make up the tournament and the events surrounding it — history, economic impact, tourism, crowds, traffic, family, service, race, tradition, etc. It’s one of the largest events of the year in Charlotte and leaves more than just a financial impact on the city. It leaves a cultural one as well.

That’s not to say a conversation isn’t worth having — no city or event is without flaws and being open and talking about them is the only way to improve. But the whole discussion is recycled every year and we — as citizens of Charlotte — can’t seem to move past it.

That’s why we reached out to CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams — someone who can give perspective on what this week is about.

She’s dedicated to the idea that the city of Charlotte is a home for the CIAA and its member institutions. This week, the conference will highlight their family bond to one another and the service to their communities. If you are unfamiliar with the over 100 years of history of the CIAA, I encourage you to research the history of the conference at

Her interview with Sarah Crosland and Corey Inscoe is revealing and honest. I encourage you to listen in.

The Good News Is — presented by The Charlotte Observer and powered by OrthoCarolina — is a weekly podcast with a similar mission to what we do here at C5: To get you CharlotteSmart, fast with fun, interesting and useful news about the city. It’s hosted by Corey Inscoe and Sarah Crosland.

As always, you can find our episodes on Soundcloud and iTunes. You can follow us on Twitter @TheGoodNewsCLT, on Instagram @TheGoodNewsCLT, on Facebook and you can shoot us an email to

Richard Brooke is the producer of The Good News Is podcast.

Photo: Charlotte Observer file