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BREAKING: ACIT Announces Indefinite Hiatus

August 23rd, 2023 by WCBC Radio

The historic Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament (ACIT), considered the most prestigious Catholic high school tournament in the country, has been placed on indefinite hiatus by Cumberland-based Wamba Caravan #89 of the International Order of Alhambra, the organization announced.

After discussions over the past several months following the 2023 event, Wamba Caravan leadership made the decision because of tournament production costs, the rapidly changing landscape of high school basketball, an increasing amount of national postseason events, state athletic association regulations and school scheduling
philosophies that made securing the traditional eight-team field for the ACIT difficult in recent years. While on hiatus, the Caravan will consider re-envisioning the ACIT in various formats, including as an in-season showcase event in the future.

“With the support of the local community, our sponsors, and scores of dedicated volunteers, the ACIT grew to reach incredible heights thanks to legendary schools, players and coaches over the years. With the leadership of general chairmen Joseph Divico and Joseph Carter, what began as the idea for a community fundraiser rose to national prominence and provided a lifetime of memories for fans and everyone involved with the event. The members of Wamba Caravan #89 are grateful for those memories and the resources they raised for those in special need of support,” said Wamba Caravan Sir Noble Alex Brant, co-chairman of the tournament.

“The Caravan would like to thank the local community, our partner conferences throughout the ACIT’s history – the Baltimore Catholic League, Philadelphia Catholic  League and the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference along with the participating schools, teams – including those from Utah and Canada – and especially the dedicated present and past members of the Caravan for decades of support. Without this, the ACIT would truly not have been possible.”

The ACIT was one of two major charitable fundraising events Wamba Caravan #89 holds each year, along with the Hooley Plunge, the largest single-day fundraising event in Allegany (Md.) County. The Hooley Plunge has raised over $1.8 million for local programs supporting the developmentally disabled over the last 19 years.  On the local level, Wamba Caravan donated the majority of ACIT proceeds to programs and institutions such as the Special Olympics, the Pratt Program at Bishop Walsh School, the Brandenberg Center, Friends Aware, Inc, New Hope, Inc., Boy Scout Troop 89, and other programs to assist the developmentally disabled. In 2004 a memorial fund established the Joseph F. Divico Memorial Seminar at Frostburg State University, for teachers of special children an for other programs to benefit the developmentally disabled on the local and international levels. A portion of ACIT proceeds each year also supported activities of the International Order of Alhambra, which, through its Endowment Fund, supports many charitable activities for the benefit of the developmentally disabled.

The 61st ACIT was played in March 2023 at Frostburg State University’s Bobcat Arena, and DeMatha won the event for a record 27th time, defeating Bishop McNamara in a battle of WCAC rivals. One of the longest-running postseason boys’ basketball tournaments in the country, the ACIT hosted over 85 teams from 10 states, the District of Columbia and Canada and featured over 100 alumni who went on to play on the NCAA Division I level and several who starred in the NBA.

Wamba Caravan #89 will continue to invest resources into the local community, and the organization is actively considering additional opportunities to raise resources and awareness for those in need.