Excitement over new changes surrounds CIAA tournament

Excitement over new changes surrounds CIAA tournament

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by BORA KIM / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @BoraKimWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on February 26, 2013 at 11:08 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 27 at 1:11 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Nearly 200,000 people are expected to head to Charlotte this week for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament.

The CIAA tournament kicked off Tuesday and will culminate on Sunday. Although the annual basketball event is entering its 101st year, organizers are promising new and exciting changes this time around.

Jacquie Carpenter is heading the tournament as the first female NCAA Commissioner.

"I feel good and this is what I do, and I am looking forward to this week," she said.

The first obvious change is an updated look. To commemorate its first year into its second century, CIAA replaced the logo -- which had been used since 1985. The modern logo also serves a dual purpose.

"We got our mark registered, so people know that you can't just go and use it without our permission," said Carpenter.

CIAA filed a lawsuit several weeks ago against retailers and party promoters illegally using its trademark for profit. The case has since been resolved and Carpenter said businesses are cooperating.

"They are business people and they get it. They understand keeping the integrity of the company, and that is what we are doing. There are still some out there, and we're not going to stop until they comply," said Carpenter.

The organization has also instituted a new ticketing system allowing tickets to be purchased online for the first time. The public also can opt to use a new paperless option, which allows all tickets to be put onto a card and scanned for entry.

"It's like a credit card. It gets you in all games all week. It's very easy, you just put it in your pocket. It's user friendly and I think it helps with some of the scalping," said Carpenter.

Athletes will also have a Student Hospitality Center to call their own. The league has set up a snack table with refreshments inside the arena and several TV monitors for easy viewing.

"We are going into century two, which is part of the vision of advancing the conference beyond the next 100 years, so all the things we are implementing is to focus on student athletes and to assure we are stable financially but also to protect the brand and the trademark. And that is what we are doing," said Carpenter. "Everyone is on board and that feels good."

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