Photo: Paul McFadden Jr.

CIAA officials held their annual media day last week and announced some changes — including a celebrity basketball game, for next year’s tournament, scheduled for Feb. 27-March 3 in Charlotte.

The charity game will be played between the men’s and women’s finals and is slated for a 3:30 p.m. tipoff at the Spectrum Center. Lockheart Entertainment, the event sponsor, has brought three celebrity games to Charlotte in the past, with celebrities such as Floyd Mayweather, Cardi B, Migos, Lil Kim, EPMD, and Keke Palmer. No names have been announced for next year’s game.

Other changes include:

Education Day, already a part of a CIAA Week, will be split over two days. A middle school program will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at Ovens Auditorium. This portion of the event, open to all middle school students, will have information about CIAA college admissions, and participants will get to attend a tournament game at Bojangles’ Coliseum. High school junior and seniors will attend on Wednesday, Feb. 28, and can apply to CIAA member schools on the spot.

Student-Athlete Experience, sponsored by NCAA, will be open to high school and college athletes. It will take place Tuesday, Feb. 27, and will address topics such as eligibility issues and how to navigate college sports. More info on this new addition will be coming soon, officials said. 

Business Development Day will take place Thursday, Feb. 29. The luncheon will blend aspects from last year’s Career Day breakfast and will feature entrepreneurs from around the community. The event will conclude with a diversity/inclusion meeting, where entrepreneurs and thought leaders will discuss how the conference can implement strategies to include more people of color. 

A New Bracket Format has been added to give lower-seeded teams more rest. Next year, an equal number of games will be split between Bojangles’ Coliseum and Spectrum Center, and no team will be required to play from Tuesday to Saturday without a day off.