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This is where we belong

I haven’t been an avid supporter of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA).

I’ve had no real reason to be since I spent my college years in Buies Creek when Campbell University was still a member of the Big South Conference. At that time, I could quote you names and mascots of all those schools. All that information is long since forgotten, but I digress.

My buddy David Friedman, whose column is in this space from time-to-time, went to Elizabeth City State University and has tried to help me understand the love CIAA alumni have for their schools and conference. Until recently, however, it has been basically to no avail.

Since Chowan University’s move to NCAA Division II, it has become increasingly apparent that they would indeed be moving towards membership in the CIAA. After not receiving a lot of interest from other conferences in the geographical area, they did from the CIAA.

While not looking like a natural marriage on the outside because of the CIAA being a conglomeration of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), the relationship between the two still managed to get started.

It became official on Tuesday that the Hawks’ athletic program would be joining the CIAA as a full-fledged member come July 1 of next year. That was hardly a startling announcement for those who have been paying attention, but probably caused a few shockwaves for those on the periphery.

I’ve long since come to the conclusion the CIAA was the best fit for Chowan as they began play in the D-II ranks. In their first year as an affiliate member, the Hawks football team has done well. They’ve played two teams well and were able to defeat Livingstone Saturday night at James G. Garrison Stadium.

In anticipation of a relationship in the future, the CU volleyball team has played many of the league’s teams and has fared well. They will be a threat to win the conference as early as next season.

All of that said, the one thing I really like is the sense of history in the CIAA. I like the fact that no matter how time has moved on, they hold on to past successes and they remember the great achievements.

I like the fact that while the alumni of the CIAA schools have a strong allegiance to their own institution, they are also extremely proud of the CIAA, its roots and the other member institutions.

That sense of history is something Chowan University has aplenty. The Braves (as they were previously known) have a history of winning in every sport on campus except the newer ones and they are coming.

I think linking Chowan’s past success with a conference that lives and breathes its love of history is a good thing. I’m excited to see where this marriage leads. I’m excited that I’ve already seen people on Chowan’s campus that I doubt have ever been there. I’m looking forward to seeing that more.

The CIAA and Chowan will reach new heights together. The Hawks will succeed in this conference and that will be a benefit to us all. I’m excited to have Chowan as a conference member in the CIAA and I’m looking forward to the new rivalries that develop and the exciting future for both of them.

Questions? Comments? Snide remarks? All are welcome.

You can reach me at thadd.white@r-cnews.com or call me at 332-7211.

Be careful out there and be good sports.