Cabarrus

Rule change: Spiders won't play at Cameron

Plenty of basketball teams have been disappointed by their results at Cameron Indoor Stadium, home of the Duke Blue Devils in Durham.

Add the Concord High boys basketball team to that list, though they never set foot inside the venerable college hoops arena.

The Spiders were scheduled to play Saturday in a showcase event named "The Clash at Cameron," a slate of 10 games that included high school teams from all over North Carolina and two from Chicago.

Ten days ago, however, the event's promoter learned that NCAA rules prohibited it from holding the event at a facility like Cameron. Though the event was shifted to another venue, Concord coach Scott Brewer decided to keep his team home.

Playing in such a prestigious affair is nothing new for the Spiders. Among Concord's high-profile matchups in recent years were games in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons against national power Oak Hill (Va.) Academy at Cabarrus Arena.

The Spiders competed in highly respected holiday tournaments in Charlotte (the Bojangles tournament) in 2008 and in Myrtle Beach (Beachball Classic) in 2009. Additionally, Concord's boys and girls teams made a two-night stay out of an away game at New Hanover in 2009.

"I think (high-profile games) promote your program," said Brewer. "It builds excitement in the program to do things exciting and unique.

Brewer signed a contract with Bleid Sports in May to play in the inaugural Clash at Cameron, billed as the first high school games to be played at Duke's home facility. Concord's girls team was added to the schedule of a sister event, the "Clash at Central," to be played at Durham's N.C. Central University, with the promise that it could play at a second Cameron event next year.

Brewer liked what the Clash had to offer. Concord High had to pay a $1,500 entry fee but would reap proceeds of its own ticket sales. He figured the school could sell enough $10 tickets to at least break even.

As a participating school, Concord could also conduct a silent auction for a chance to tour Cameron Indoor Stadium and sit on the Spiders' bench during the game.

"The Clash at Cameron" was one of several similar events Bleid Sports had scheduled around the country.

On Dec. 1, however, Brewer received an email from Bleid Sports notifying him that an NCAA rule adopted this summer prevented their basketball events from being held at the home facilities of men's Division I basketball programs, including Cameron.

Brewer said the state high school athletic association had approved the Clash. The NCAA's rule, however, does not allow for "non-scholastic" events to take place at college arenas.

Josh Loughry, whose title is listed as "Venue and Basketball Operations" on the Bleid website, was contacted by phone on Tuesday but said he had no comment. The NCAA did not respond to an email sent Monday or a phone message left Tuesday.

Bleid shifted the event to the Crown Center, a 3,500-seat arena in Fayetteville. For a few days after the announcement, Brewer considered keeping the Spiders in the event and playing its scheduled game with Wilmington Hoggard.

Citing his team's scheduled conference game with Jay M. Robinson in Concord the preceding night, Dec. 16, Brewer decided to pull his team from the Clash altogether.

Concord's girls coach Angela Morton withdrew her team, too, from its event and has scheduled a home game with West Craven High on Dec. 22. Brewer said he doesn't fault the NCAA or Bleid Sports, which promised to refund Concord's entry fee. The school has already started issuing refunds for the 50 to 60 people who bought tickets. To get a refund, contact Concord Athletic Director George Walker at 704-786-4161.

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