I realize the Gaines Center is old, rickety and it gets hot on warm days because there is no air conditioning. But that’s part of the charm of what makes it a great place to watch basketball – when the students are on campus.
The CIAA sort of has a television contract with Aspire Network. I say sort of because Aspire isn’t on a lot of cable systems and because folks are getting rid of cable more often these days means networks like Aspire don’t have a lot of viewers.
The CIAA made its announcement earlier this week that Aspire will broadcast five regular-season games on five straight Saturdays at 4 p.m. None of the venues where the games will be played get the blood flowing when it comes to the atmosphere of the small gyms in the CIAA.
I’m not saying this to make the folks at Fayetteville State, Chowan, Virginia State and Bowie State mad at me. Those gyms are all very good but the Gaines Center, Spaulding Gym (also known as the The Box at Shaw), Brayboy Gym at Johnson C. Smith, Barco-Stevens at Virginia Union and Emery Gym at St. Aug’s is what the CIAA is all about.
I love going to those small gyms on a weeknight during the heat of the CIAA season and seeing the passion that rivals Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke. But none of those games will be broadcast on Aspire Network which is a shame.
Producing a live TV basketball game isn’t as easy as it sounds and the old gyms in the CIAA don’t exactly have the modern technology needed. I know that in my 22 years of covering WSSU I’ve never gotten on the so-called wireless network at the Gaines Center.
So I can see the TV production side of the argument why two of the five games that will be broadcasted live will be at modern Capel Arena at Fayetteville State. That arena has all the amenities and that atmosphere there can be good when the right opponent is in the building.
WSSU’s basketball team, which has struggled mightily this season, will make an appearance on Aspire TV on Feb. 17 against Fayetteville State at 4 p.m. Maybe by then the Rams will have their act together and will play well in front of a live TV audience.
The atmosphere at the Gaines Center will be on display on Saturday when the Rams take on St. Aug’s with the women’s game at 2 p.m. and the men’s game at 4 p.m. It’s the start of Southern Division play in the regular-season and means just a little more to players, coaches and fans.
I think folks would love to see Shaw-St. Aug’s on live TV. I know when Shaw and St. Aug’s, who are separated by a few blocks in Raleigh, play at either one of their small gyms fans are turned away at the door because there are no seats left. And as a bonus Shaw and St. Aug’s are probably the two best teams in the Southern Division this season.
Charlotte, NC (January 11, 2018) – The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) announces a broadcast schedule of 14 basketball contests, including 9 broadcasts during the conference’s annual basketball tournament. This season’s broadcast schedule includes televised games on Aspire TV.
The CIAA will broadcast five regular season men’s basketball games and nine contests during its 2018 Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament. The regular season broadcast schedule will begin at Fayetteville State University on January 20, 2018 versus the Blue Bears of Livingstone College and extend four consecutive weeks. Each regular season contest will be televised live on Aspire TV. Local listings of each game’s broadcast will be forthcoming.
The CIAA’s Basketball Tournament television contests will begin on Thursday, March 1 at Spectrum Center (formerly Time Warner Cable Arena) in Charlotte, North Carolina. Two men’s quarterfinals contests in addition to all four (2 women’s, 2 men’s) semifinals games will broadcast prior to both the Women’s and Men’s Championship games on Saturday, March 3, 2018. New this year is the Celebrity Charity Basketball Game, which will also be featured in the television broadcast lineup. The Women’s Championship game will tipoff at 1:00 p.m. with the Celebrity Charity Basketball Game at 4:00 p.m. and the Men’s Championship which is slated for 7:00 p.m.
Date Away Home Tipoff Network
January 20, 2018 Livingstone Fayetteville State M – 4:00 PM Aspire TV
March 1, 2018 Men’s Quarterfinal Game #3 M – 7:00 PM Aspire TV
March 1, 2018 Men’s Quarterfinal Game #4 M – 9:00 PM Aspire TV
March 2, 2018 Men’s Semifinal Game #1 M – 7:00 PM Aspire TV
March 2, 2018 Men’s Semifinal Game #2 M – 9:00 PM Aspire TV
March 3, 2018 Men’s Championship M – 7:00 PM Aspire TV
for this season.