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In the press release announcing that the CIAA Football Championship was moving to Salem, Va, Salem Director of Tourism Carey Harveycutter praised the Mayor of neighboring Roanoke for his support.sherman leaSherman Lea

Lea, a five-term city councilman in Roanoke who become mayor on July 1, 2016, earned his bachelor's degree from Virginia Union University.

“It brings back fond memories when I played in the CIAA and having our area be selected for the championship is one of the proudest moments for me as Mayor." said Lea.

Salem calls itself “Virginia’s Championship City” and currently hosts NCAA championships in Division III football (Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl), Men's Basketball, Baseball, Women's Lacrosse, Softball and Volleyball.  The city has also hosted the ACC Baseball Championship.

CIAA members Virginia Union, Johnson C. Smith and Livingstone have played in Salem as participanta in  the Western Virginia Education Classic.

Lea added "With Salem’s proven record for hosting championship sports, I couldn’t be more pleased for Virginia’s Blue Ridge in establishing a future with the CIAA.”

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