The NCAA announced Monday that it was moving its slate of 2016-17 championship events set to be played in North Carolina out of that state. The college sports governing body made its decision in reaction to the so-called “bathroom bill,” a much-publicized piece of legislation aimed at the LGBT community, passed there earlier this year.
In a news release, the NCAA outlined four reasons why it found North Carolina, as opposed to other states, to be an unacceptable site:
Its state-level laws “invalidate any local law that treats sexual orientation as a protected class or has a purpose to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals.”
It has “the only statewide law that makes it unlawful to use a restroom different from the gender on one’s birth certificate, regardless of gender identity.”
North Carolina “provides legal protections for government officials to refuse services to the LGBT community.”
The states of New York, Minnesota, Washington, Vermont and Connecticut, plus several municipalities, “prohibit travel to North Carolina for public employees and representatives of public institutions, which could include student-athletes and campus athletics staff.”
In July, the University of Albany announced that it would not travel to Duke for a scheduled men’s basketball game because New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned state employees from non-essential travel to the state of North Carolina.
“It’s an embarrassing bill,” Blue Devils Coach Mike Krzyzewski said at the time of the legislation, also known as House Bill 2. N.C. State Coach Mark Gottfried said he was “appalled” by HB2.
In all, seven championship events will be relocated, including first- and second-round games for the Division I men’s basketball tournament, scheduled to be held in Greensboro. Other events include Division I women’s soccer (Cary), Division I women’s lacrosse (Cary), Division III men’s and women’s soccer (Greensboro), Division III men’s and women’s tennis (Cary), Division II baseball (Cary) and regionals for Division I women’s golf (Greenville).
New sites for those events have yet to be determined. The NCAA is following an example set by the NBA, which moved its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans, as well as businesses such as PayPal and Deutsche Bank, which called off proposed expansions in North Carolina out of concerns with the new law, which has also hampered tourism in the state.
“Historically, the Association has taken steps to ensure its championship environment is consistent with its values,” the NCAA said in its news release. “The NCAA bans championships in states where governments display the Confederate battle flag or authorize sports wagering and at schools that use hostile and abusive Native American imagery.
“The only championship events that can be hosted in North Carolina this academic year are those that are decided when student-athletes earn the opportunity to play a championship on their own campus.”