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NCAA championship events will return to North Carolina

Three North Carolina cities will host men’s NCAA Tournament events in the coming years.

Notre Dame v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

After pulling championship events out of North Carolina while House Bill 2 was in effect, the NCAA is ready to return games to the Tar Heel state going forward. It was announced today that, in addition to Charlotte hosting games in 2018, games would be held in Greensboro in 2020 and Raleigh in 2021.

South Carolina will be hosting games in 2019 in Columbia and 2022 in Greenville. Games in the 2017 tournament that were originally planned for Greensboro were subsequently moved to Greenville because of HB2. Both North Carolina and Duke were sent to South Carolina for their first two games.

The games returning to North Carolina are first and second round games. It was probably too much to expect the NCAA to immediately allow games to take place in the state again while also rewarding them with regional games, and that did not happen. Perhaps in the next round of assignments if no further legislation prevents it.

It’s obviously huge news for North Carolina’s revenue, which took a serious beating when the ACC, NBA, and NCAA all pulled big events out of the state. It’s also great news for schools like UNC, who have come to enjoy a huge home court advantage within the state lines. Having to make it to Greenville certainly wasn’t a huge burden, but it also wasn’t quite the atmosphere of the Greensboro Coliseum, for example.

The obvious focus here is on men’s basketball, but other events will also be returning to North Carolina. The College Cup will be returning to Cary in 2018 and 2020 for women, and 2019 and 2021 for men. Soccer, swimming, golf, and field hockey will also have games played in NC.

North Carolina submitted 133 bids for championship events, and they were only awarded 23. That seems like it might be a little low, but is probably also understandable considering everything that has happened. Hopefully the next round of assignments will be a bit more generous.

It seems like the legislatures will have to hold off on worrying about that ridiculous bill that would pull UNC and NC State out of the ACC if games were withheld, at least for now.