MEAC eyes RBC Center
For more regular season games

Jaymes Powell Jr., Staff Writer

RALEIGH - Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference commissioner Dennis Thomas said Monday that he hopes to have two MEAC schools play a regular-season basketball game at the RBC Center as early as next season. The potential matchup could open the door for a series of games between MEAC teams and area mid-majors, Thomas said.

"We need to start out with MEAC institutions playing here, and then we'd try to bring in the East Carolinas, the Davidsons and others," Thomas said.

Thomas also said that a possible matchup between N.C. A&T, currently the state's only MEAC school, and South Carolina State would be an obvious draw.

"We need to work on that, but our first game needs to be a MEAC game," Thomas said.

Winston-Salem State will officially join the MEAC for the 2007-08 season.

Davidson athletics director Jim Murphy said he liked the idea.

"We're always interested in talking about playing. That'd be a good matchup for us," Kelly said. "We'd be interested in having that conversation."

The commissioner discussed these and other plans to increase the tournament's visibility in the Triangle at a media luncheon. Thomas said the MEAC would also have famous music acts perform before games and during halftime at the tournament.

Popular '90s R&B group SWV will be one of several acts to perform during the MEAC Tournament, which will be held March 5-10 at the RBC Center.

Cheryl "Coko" Clemons, a member of SWV, said she had become interested in the league after recently moving to Virginia Beach, Va., near the MEAC headquarters in Norfolk, Va.

"I just learned about it. I learned it's an up-and-coming tournament. I have kids of my own now going to college soon, so they're interested."

The MEAC, a historically black Division I sports league, began playing its tournament at the RBC Center last year.

The city recruited the MEAC Tournament, whose champion goes on to the NCAA Tournament and runner-up to the NIT, to replace the CIAA Tournament, which moved to Charlotte last year after a successful six-year run in the Triangle.