The City of Salem and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association have reached an agreement on a three-year contract that will make Salem Stadium the home of the conference’s football championship in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Salem hosted the game in November of 2016 after the conference moved the contest out of Durham due to the state of North Carolina’s HB2 controversy. Nearly 3,500 fans showed-up to watch Winston-Salem State beat Bowie State for the title last fall in Salem.
“That was a great experience and Salem is honored and privileged to host the CIAA football championship for an additional three years,” says Salem Mayor Randy Foley. “Our facilities and professionalism, combined with the Virginia’s Blue Ridge hospitality, amenities, and can-do attitude, exemplify the great teamwork we have regarding tourism and economic development in this region.”
Mayor Foley and Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea, who are both former college football players at the University of Virginia and Virginia Union University, respectively, lobbied hard along with Salem’s Tourism Director, Carey Harveycutter, to make the game a fixture in Salem for the region’s football fans.
“I am elated that the CIAA has chosen The City of Salem to host their Conference Championship game again,” says Mayor Lea. “This a major victory for this entire valley, and it speaks to the outstanding work of Carey Harveycutter and his staff. They are the best in the country at securing these championship events.”
Salem has hosted 85 NCAA national championships since 1993 in either Division II or Division III. This December, the city will play host to the Division III football title game, The Stagg Bowl, for the 25th consecutive year. The city’s proven performance history as a host and the overall commitment of Virginia’s Blue Ridge region made the CIAA’s decision a relatively easy one.
"The City of Salem did an exceptional job hosting last year's football championship and we were pleased with the support and welcoming spirit that were expressed to the competing member institutions, fans and sponsors," says CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams. "We are excited to bring the rich legacy and tradition of CIAA championships to a city known for hosting top NCAA championships and one that understands the value of serving its community through athletics. We are confident that the City of Salem will continue to help us grow and expand our championship footprint."
“Being selected as the host for this championship is a testament to the manner in which our localities work together to benefit the region,” says Virginia’s Blue Ridge President Landon Howard. “It took commitments and cooperation on a number of fronts to attract this championship, and now we have the good fortune of welcoming fans and teams again later this year to Virginia’s Blue Ridge.”
In addition to the 2017 championship game that will take place on November 11 , Salem’s Taliaferro Complex also will host the CIAA Football Media Day this summer on July 20.
“We feel very fortunate to secure these commitments from the CIAA and we truly hope this a long relationship that benefits both sides,” says Harveycutter. “Maximizing the student-athlete experience has always been our top priority with these championships, but we also want these games to be something the fans will always remember for years to come.”