| | | |

The Ultimate Guide To CIAA week/ CIAA weekend

What is CIAA?

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) was founded in 1912 as the Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association and is the oldest African-American athletic conference in the nation. It is an NCAA Division II conference, where once a year there is a CIAA Basketball Tournament. Outside of the tournament the week is filled with events including parties, numerous educational and healthy-livings components, step shows, and a battle of the bands. The men’s and women’s CIAA tournament championship games are on Saturday night.

CIAA schools include:

 More than likely when you hear someone referring to going to CIAA, it is regarding the tournament and the events, CIAA weekend. The rest of the article will refer to the tournament and events as CIAA  (say ci double a) weekend.

The following are tips for an in-person CIAA week.

Where and When is CIAA week?

Usually, the CIAA location is in Charlotte, NC, and held around late February/Early March. and brought in crowds of hundreds of thousands and spend of over 50 million. However,  the new CIAA location as of 2021 is Baltimore, Maryland in 2021 and contracted until 2023.  CIAA 2023 is February 21st – 25th, 2023.

CIAA weekend CIAA week

Where Should You Stay for CIAA week?

 Book your hotel EARLY (6+ months in advance). Some people book their hotel as soon as the previous year’s CIAA is over so the earlier the better.

Here are a few top-ranked hotels in Baltimore for CIAA.


The Ivy Hotel; 205 E Biddle StBaltimore, MD 21202-3941


 Sagamore Pendry Baltimore 1715 Thames StBaltimore, MD 21231-3417


What Is There To Do During CIAA week?

  • ATTEND A GAME: Although this is a basketball tournament, it is important to know that not many people go to the games (BIG PROBLEM), and most attendees have no ties to CIAA schools.  If you want to go, it’s easy to score free tickets from giveaways at the convention center.  PLEASE TRY TO support the games, the reason for the events! At home, you should be able to watch the games on the Aspire channel
  • Check out a free concert, vendors, and celebrity meet and greets at the Toyota Fan Fest. This is a free event and takes place Thursday-Sunday of the Tournament. Click here for the official schedule.
  • Attend the Career Expo: If you’re a recent graduate or current student of a CIAA school. Meet with prospective employers and graduate schools.
  • Step Shows


Tips for CIAA week 

  • Day parties are better than night parties, always (especially Friday)! You can pay in advance for a day party or try to take part in free entry that starts at around 12 pm. If you do free early admission, be prepared to wait for the party to get good around 3 pm. Check out the frequently updated list of the parties.
  • For the best ticket prices to parties, buy in January or ASAP to avoid paying ridiculous prices. Even though you have a ticket, you should still try to get to the party early to avoid lines unless you have a table. Please don’t go broke trying to impress a potential CIAA boo; you probably won’t hear from them after CIAA. :/

Read: How To Travel and Not Accumulate Debt

  • If you must attend a celebrity-hosted party, verify the celeb is actually going to be there. You can verify through Instagram or Twitter. There will be TONS of false advertisements for celeb-hosted CIAA parties.


  •  If CIAA moves back to Charlotte, Uptown is where all the action happens.

on College Street there is cheap parking behind Ruth Chris on Tryon Street, you can walk over to the action and avoid gridlocked College Street. Stick to parties that are uptown. Harris Blvd., Sugar creek and Albemarle are not where you want to be!  You could also park in Southend catch the Charlotte Light Rail, Lynx  and Uber back to your car if late. (Charlotte only)

Bonus: Claim$5 of your first 4 Uber Rides


  • Beware of fly-by-night promoters that pop up during CIAA.  I made the mistake of purchasing from a promoter/group I never heard of for a 2 Chainz event under a Tent (hosted by Kenny Johnson, One Productions, and Face Jay and the Tent). The event ended up overselling, plus they let in more people who had free entry before certain time tickets than those purchased.  I lost $45!  Trusted Charlotte local promoters: King Entertainment, Moxie Society, A-List Entetainment, Eddietainment, Sol Kitchen and Floyd Hodge/Get Live Entertainment.
  •  Be prepared to see some of the MOST interesting fashion you have seen in your life.
  • CIAA is not an accurate depiction of how the host city really is, so don’t start planning your move based on CIAA.
  • Hotel Venues and non-traditional club/bar venues tend to have a limited alcohol selection for parties. 
  •  In the market for a Cat Daddy? There will not be a shortage at CIAA. Good luck and beware lol

CIAA week


  • The police are out in full force for this event. There are a ton of police checks so don’t drink and drive (ever)!

Bonus: Claim$5 of your first 4 Uber Rides

  • If you can’t get into a party or party on a budget, hang outside in the Epicentre. (Charlotte only)
  • Download the new mobile app for CIAA to keep up with the games and sponsored events!


As you can see there is a lot to do and people look forward to CIAA week and CIAA weekend. What is your favorite thing about CIAA? What do you look forward to? Comment below!


Pin The Knowledge!

A quick guide to navigating through the CIAA Week.

This page may contain affiliate link(s), which means we receive compensation for items purchased through the link (s). The compensation helps us keep this website free. Please view our Disclosure Policy for more information.

Similar Posts