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Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor Leaving Concordia Invitational Tournament

Concordia+University+Chicago+Cougar+Band+members+hold+a+sign+to+the+opposing+Concordia+University+Wisconsin+womens+basketball+team.
Julian Perez
Concordia University Chicago Cougar Band members hold a sign to the opposing Concordia University Wisconsin women’s basketball team.

While this weekend marks the 71st annual Concordia Invitational Tournament (CIT), two of the four participating universities are pulling out of the annual weekend of basketball games.

Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor announced on Dec. 20 that the school will stop participating in the basketball tournament that includes Concordia University Chicago and Concordia University Nebraska.

“After the 2025 CIT event, slated to be held at our Ann Arbor campus, CUWAA will discontinue participation in this tournament to pursue new traditions that better serve our athletic programs and engage our student body,” said Erik Ankerberg, the president of Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor, in a statement.

Concordia University Wisconsin and Concordia University Ann Arbor merged in July 2013, but each school fields separate athletic teams. Both universities operate under Ankerberg, who was the provost at CUC from 2020 to 2022, and the associate vice president for academics from 2017 to 2020.

“What makes athletics at CUC distinctive — and what stands out about CIT — is its spiritual grounding,” wrote President Russell Dawn in an email to the students and faculty of CUC. “That is what will endure as we determine how we will honor that tradition moving forward.”

CUC’s Athletics Department did not have any prior knowledge of this decision. The leadership will be having further meetings with all the other schools while at CIT, said CUC director of athletics Janet Wolbert. 

“Since the news, we have been looking for alternatives with Concordia Nebraska,” Wolbert said. “They also want to try and keep the tournament going.” 

The weekend-long tournament is played between CUC, Concordia University Nebraska, Concordia University Wisconsin and Concordia University Ann Arbor. Men’s and women’s basketball compete, as well as dance, cheer and stunt. Pep bands and mascots are also present.

“It’s a little surprising,” said men’s basketball head coach Rashaan Surles. “Especially with the history and importance that comes with CIT and also because all the players truly enjoyed the tournament.”

The location of the tournament rotates each year between the four schools in the competition. This year it was held at Concordia University Wisconsin, in Mequon, and it is scheduled to be held in Ann Arbor in 2025.  CUC would have been the next host school in 2026.

“I am saddened by the news,” said sophomore Gabriel Lopez. “Especially since we were supposed to be the host school after CUAA, and now we won’t be able to experience it at our own school.”

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About the Contributors
Natalie Gallardo, Reporter
Julian Perez, Photographer