Cougars' arena name undecided

The College of Charleston's basketball arena may undergo a name change.

Brad Nettles

It remains to be seen whether or not the College of Charleston's Carolina First Arena will retain its current name following the announcement that financially troubled Carolina First Bank is being acquired by a Canadian financial group.

"It's just too early to know," College of Charleston director of athletics Joe Hull said Tuesday.

Hull said staff members are looking at the $2 million naming rights agreement between the school and the Greenville-based bank that was signed in 2005. The Post and Courier asked the school for a copy of the contract Tuesday, but it refused to release the documents. The newspaper then filed a request under the state Freedom of Information Act.

The South Financial Group Inc., Carolina First's parent company, has agreed to be acquired by TD Bank Financial Service for $61 million. The sale included the naming rights for Carolina First Arena. The Toronto-based buyer also will pay $131 million to retire the government's investment in South Financial.

The company received $347 million in federal bailout money under the U.S. Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program.

In 2005, the $2 million naming rights agreement was the single largest gift the college had received from a corporation and the most money Carolina First had donated at one time. When the announcement was made, it guaranteed Carolina First would be on the building forever. The donation was to be spread out over a decade, with the money going into an endowment fund. The $45 million facility on Meeting Street, which seats 5,100, opened for the 2008-09 basketball season.

Reach Tommy Braswell at braswell@postandcourier.com.