The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will come to Norfolk for at least the next three years, officials will announce at a news conference Thursday morning at Scope.

The MEAC and Norfolk have agreed to a three-year contract, with a two-year option to renew, to play the tournaments at Scope beginning in March 2013, according to sources who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to release the information.

City officials, led by Vice Mayor Anthony L. Burfoot, have long tried to attract the MEAC tournaments to Norfolk, saying it will fill hotel rooms and restaurants and increase the city’s profile.

Norfolk State and Hampton University play in the MEAC, whose champions gain automatic bids to the NCAA tournament. Its men’s basketball championship game is televised on ESPN2.

Hampton won both the men’s and women’s tournaments last year. Norfolk State currently leads the MEAC men’s basketball race.

The tournament has not attracted large crowds in recent years, but Norfolk officials have contended that moving the tournament to Scope could change that – noting that two league members are in Hampton Roads and seven others are within a 4-1/2-hour drive of Norfolk.

This year’s tournaments will be played from March 5-10 in Winston-Salem, N.C. Read Full Article