CAA commissioner wants tournament to stay in Baltimore
BALTIMORE (AP) Colonial Athletic Association commissioner Tom Yeager is seeking an extended stay for the league tournament in Baltimore.
The league’s three-year agreement with Baltimore expires after the 2016 tournament. Yeager intends to meet with city officials and representatives of the Royal Farms Arena to discuss lengthening the commitment.
”We hope to get it done before June,” Yeager said. ”I believe there is a foundation in place to sustain a long-term relationship.”
A total of 18,754 fans showed up for the four-day tournament that ended Monday night. An announced crowd of 5,721 watched Northeastern beat William & Mary in the title game.
The overall attendance dropped from 19,000-plus for the inaugural event, but a year ago nearby Delaware advanced to the final. This year, Delaware and Maryland-based Towson were eliminated after playing only one game.
”That’s part of a tournament,” Yeager said. ”You can’t control that aspect.”
Looking around at the empty upper deck Monday night, Yeager conceded, ”I’d like more fans to be here.”
He expects attendance to swell after the tournament grows roots in Baltimore, and he’s still adamant that the location is perfect for a league that extends from Massachusetts to South Carolina.
”It’s easy to get here, and once you’re here there’s a lot to do within walking distance of the city center,” Yeager said.
Soon after he and his team cut down the nets Monday night, Northeastern coach Bill Coen proclaimed with a grin, ”We had a lot of fun here.”
He added, ”The city has been very gracious. Everybody around has been terrific.”
The arena, which opened in 1962, certainly has its flaws. But it’s not too dated to stage a mid-major tournament.
”I thought the venue was very good,” Coen said. ”It’s a great place to host a tournament. Given time, it will grow and grow.”