Defecting teams make mistake, CIAA boss says
Mar 1, 2007
Leon Kerry leaned back on a leather couch at Bobcats Arena in Charlotte and smiled as the first game of his basketball tournament tipped off this week.
“I’m the big dog here in Division II,” the CIAA commissioner said. “We’re the biggest event in Division II NCAA. I like that.”
Kerry has been the boss of the nation’s oldest league of historically black colleges for 17 years. This week’s CIAA tournament is expected to bring 20,000 fans, and the men’s final Saturday will be the only nationally televised Division II conference championship game.
But Kerry also faces several significant issues, the biggest being the steady stream of CIAA schools moving up to Division I. Winston-Salem State left a year ago, and N.C. Central will depart at the end of the school year, leaving the league with 10 schools.
Kerry is convinced those schools are making the wrong decision.
“The thing is, when they go, they play .500 basketball,” he said. “You never hear from them again. They won’t be winning 28 games and playing in the national championship. They will never win a national championship in my lifetime.”
He's still right. Mighty Central couldn't beat a SWAC school in the play in game.
Yeah, Central has not made that jump to advance in the round of 16 like many would hope. But student enrollment has grown significantly over the past six years prior to "BLM Movement". The move to D-I has had a huge impact of out-of-state application because of athletics. Yes, their baseball program is shutting down. But if they are redistributing the funds to other programs this is the right time with the entire MEAC South now gone there was no one else in to play in divisional play. Moving these resources could give other programs the necessary boost that they need pick up where NCAT and BCU left off in the league.
In terms of the CIAA, it will hold on to all of its current members by default. VSU is the only school that has an incentive to move but they cant do it alone. What they really need to do is look to add Bluefield State, Coppin and Norfolk to its membership to strengthen basketball and baseball. This move would also make divisional travel simple and put together more natural rivalry games in the north.