The NCAA announced Monday evening that seven previously awarded championships set to take place in North Carolina during the 2016-2017 academic year would be relocated in response to the state’s House Bill 2. The bill previously caused the NBA to pull their All-Star Game out of Charlotte, and the NCAA is following suit.
Host sites and sites applying to host events were sent a questionnaire to fill out detailing anti-discrimination measures in the local area. The Board of Governors of the NCAA believes that current state laws prevent inclusion for athletes, coaches, managers, and fans.
“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA president. “We believe in providing a safe and respectful environment at our events and are committed to providing the best experience possible for college athletes, fans and everyone taking part in our championships."
“The NCAA Constitution clearly states our values of inclusion and gender equity, along with the membership’s expectation that we as the Board of Governors protect those values for all,” said Susquehanna University President Jay Lemons, vice chair of the Board of Governors and chair of the ad hoc committee on diversity and inclusion. “Our membership comprises many different types of schools – public, private, secular, faith-based – and we believe this action appropriately reflects the collective will of that diverse group.”
The NCAA detailed the ways that North Carolina’s situation was different than other states, using the fact that the state’s law invalidates local law to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation, is the only state that has a statewide law making it unlawful to use a bathroom other than one matching the gender a person was assigned at birth, and provides protection for government officials refusing services to the LGBT community.
Numerous states have also prohibited voluntary travel to North Carolina for public employees and representatives of public institutions, which would impact athletes and staff traveling to NC for various tournaments.
The following championships will all be moved out of the state:
2016 Division I Women’s Soccer Championship
2016 Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships
2017 Division I Men’s Basketball Championships (1st and 2nd rounds)
2017 Division I Women’s Golf Championship
2017 Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships
2017 Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship
2017 Division II Baseball Championship
The biggest impact on the Tar Heels will be the first and second rounds of the 2017 tournament being moved out of Greensboro. Carolina has enjoyed a great home court advantage in the state of North Carolina during the basketball tournament, and will now not be able to enjoy that same luxury.
The future of House Bill 2 will likely depend on the outcome of North Carolina’s governor’s race in November, with incumbent Pat McCrory being the driving force behind the bill and challenger Roy Cooper being one of the bill’s most vocal opponents.
One thing is for sure, and that is that the state will lose considerable amounts of income due to the loss of these championships and that isn’t good for anyone.