OKMULGEE, Okla.- The College of the Muscogee Nation (CMN) is hosting their first annual Raven Classic Men’s Intramural Basketball Tournament on Feb. 3 at the Mvskoke Dome. The intramural tournament will consist of different men’s college basketball teams competing. There will be prizes for teams finishing in first through third place. Vendors selling T-shirts and food will also be available.
The tournament will have an admission fee, however children under five years of age will be admitted for free. Ticket sales will go toward CMN’s basketball team.
CMN Criminal Justice Program Coordinator Advisor and Instructor Cheryl Najera (Mvskoke) spoke about the men’s tournament and what it will hold in the near future for the college. The Raven Classic will help prepare CMN’s men’s team for the American Indian Higher Consortium Conference (AIHEC) tournament. Although this is an all men’s tournament, the college hopes to get the women’s team, the Lady Ravens involved someday as well.
“The idea is that when we move to getting an athletic department down the road we are going to make this a staple. This is a vision of Dr. Randall and I, to do an intramural teams and that’s our goal hopefully down the road when we have an athletic conference or part of an athletic conference and we can continue this Raven Classic,” Najera said.
The tournament will feature CMN’s own men’s team, Oklahoma Baptist University and the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology among others.
Each game in the tournament will use a full court and will follow AIHEC regulations when it comes to rules and time outs.
First through third placing teams will receive a plaque. Winners from each team will also receive an article of clothing with the CMN logo on it. First place winners will receive hoodies, second place winners will receive long sleeve t-shirts and third place winners will receive t-shirts.
Behind the Scenes
Najera helped prepare all of the paperwork necessary for the tournament. CMN Men’s Coach Riley Berry (Mvskoke) helped gather different resources to put the tournament together. Berry has experience running events like these and has even played in some around various Indigenous communities.
Berry is thrilled to have the CMN’s men’s basketball team in this intramural tournament. He has seen firsthand how hard his team has practiced for tournaments like these.
“We are excited and we have been practicing all this time. We are ready to go out there and represent our tribe, ourselves and the college. We are trying to go out there and win some games. Maybe bring some hardware back and give it all we got and represent,” Berry said.
CMN President Dr. Monte Randall (Mvskoke) spoke about seeing growth from the tournament and the legacy it will leave behind in the future.
“CMN is the institution of higher education for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation built on the legacy of our ancestors. Everything we commit to is about continuing this legacy of education and prosperity for our people. As we are developing new programs of academics, we also wanted to be mindful of co-curricular activities and even set our sights on athletics. CMN has been competing in the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) Basketball Tournament for several years. Our men’s team placed second in 2019 and the women placed third in 2023. Our goal is to continue to compete in the AIHEC Tournament, while moving us toward collegiate athletics in the future. To give our teams more practice and competition, we wanted to start a legacy by hosting our own tournament at the Mvskoke Dome,” Randall said.
For further information on the tournament, contact Cheryl Najera at 918-210-4794, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.