It was announced last week that the NBA would be moving the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte because of their disagreement with North Carolina's House Bill 2. The PGA recently made the decision to leave their championship in North Carolina for next year, but threatened that future events could be taken away. Not to be left out, the NCAA might be following suit.
The NCAA released a statement on Friday that said cities wishing to host NCAA championships would need to fill out a questionnaire that explained local anti-discrimination laws and measures that would be put in place to ensure protection against refusal of services. Cities that have already been awarded NCAA games will also need to submit this same information, just at a later time.
For North Carolina cities set to host NCAA Championships, this could be a real problem. It's possible that the result of this is that the NCAA doesn't take away previously awarded games, but North Carolina could end up on the outside looking in when it comes to future tournaments.
House Bill 2 has already had an impact on ACC Basketball when the University of Albany cancelled their trip to Durham to play Duke over the bill. With other professional sports entities taking such drastic action against HB2, it doesn't seem far-fetched to think that the NCAA, which does plenty of business in NC each year, could be next.
Both Greensboro and Charlotte are set to host NCAA games in 2017 and 2018, respectively, and will need to be able to show the NCAA that they can protect those participating in the events from discrimination. HB2 could prevent them from being able to meet that standard. One of the questions each site will need to answer is whether or not the city or state regulates choice of bathroom that may impact participants in the events.
There is certainly a lot to unpack here, and the ultimate future of HB2 will likely depend on the outcome of North Carolina's gubernatorial election this November. Governor Pat McCrory's competition, NC Attorney General Roy Cooper, has been one of the most outspoken against the bill. HB2 is hardly the only issue that will impact the race for governor, but it will be one that voters will likely have to contemplate before casting their ballots.
North Carolina will either need to stand its ground with the bill, knowing that it will likely continue to cost the state millions in revenue from events that refuse to come to North Carolina, or eventually back down because the backlash is too great. It doesn't seem like an issue that will be going away quietly.
The NCAA has punished states for perceived discrimination before. South Carolina was banned from hosting NCAA championship games for 15 years while the Confederate flag flew over the state's Capitol. Their ban was lifted last year when South Carolina removed the flag, and they will now be able to bid on future events.
For now, it seems like neither side is ready to back down. UNC has enjoyed a lot of success playing NCAA tournament games in their home state in front of a friendly crowd, but their ability to enjoy that perk in the future is definitely in jeopardy.