Metro Weekly

NCAA pulls seven sports championships from North Carolina over HB 2

Decision to yank sporting events mirrors NBA's decision to relocate its 2017 All-Star Game

University of North Carolina's Marcus Paige shoots a 3-pointer durinng the 2016 NCAA Championship Game against Villanova - Photo: James W. Neal, via Wikimedia.

University of North Carolina’s Marcus Paige shoots a 3-pointer durinng the 2016 NCAA Championship Game against Villanova – Photo: James W. Neal, via Wikimedia.

The NCAA has pulled seven collegiate championship events from North Carolina and will relocate them to other states in protest of the Tar Heel State’s HB 2 law. The organization said it would do so to ensure an “inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans,” reports Raleigh-based WRAL.

The NCAA will relocate the following championships to other states:

  • the first and second rounds of the 2017 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, slated to be held in Greensboro on Mar. 17 and 19;
  • the 2016 Division I Women’s Soccer Championship, scheduled for Dec. 2 and 4 in Cary, N.C.
  • the 2016 Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships, in Greensboro, on Dec. 2 and 3;
  • the 2017 Division I Women’s Golf Championships regional, in Greenville, N.C. from May 8-10;
  • the 2017 Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships, in Cary, from May 22-27; 
  • the 207 Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship, in Cary, on May 26 and 28; and
  • the 2017 Division II Baseball Championship in Cary, from May 27-June 3.

The new sites for the championships have yet to be announced.

The NCAA is also in the process of vetting bids for future championships to be held from 2018 to 2022. A final decision is not expected until next year, as all potential host cities have been asked to provide information about the presence or lack of any local nondiscrimination laws that might prompt the organization to choose another city. According to the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, venues in Wake County, home to the capital city of Raleigh, have bid on 57 of those events.

The NCAA’s move mirrors one made by the National Basketball Association, which pulled its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte and relocated it to New Orleans in opposition to the HB 2 law, which prohibits transgender people from using any bathroom other than the one designated for their biological sex at birth. The law also eliminates local nondiscrimination ordinances that attempt to extend rights or employment or fair housing protections to any member of the LGBT community.

The Human Rights Campaign praised the NCAA’s decision to move the championships away from North Carolina, with the group’s president, Chad Griffin, saying in a statement: “The NCAA just sent a clear message to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and state lawmakers that it will not tolerate hateful laws targeting student athletes, fans and employees.”

But the conservative NC Values Coalition called the NCAA’s decision hypocritical.

“The NCAA is punishing the state of North Carolina because it dares to stand up for the common-sense notion that everyone has a right to privacy, decency and safety in bathrooms, showers and locker rooms,” the group said in a statement that misgendered transgender women. “The NCAA is guilty of extreme hypocrisy — while it bullies the people of North Carolina to allow boys in the girls’ locker rooms, showers and bathrooms, it prohibits boys from playing on girls’ sports teams.”

The North Carolina GOP defended the HB 2 law, blasting the NCAA’s decision as “an assault to female athletes across the nation.”

“I genuinely look forward to the NCAA merging all men’s and women’s teams together as singular, unified, unisex teams. Under the NCAA’s logic, colleges should make cheerleaders and football players share bathrooms, showers and hotel rooms,” Kami Mueller, the party’s spokeswoman, said in a statement. “I wish the NCAA was this concerned about the women who were raped at Baylor. Perhaps the NCAA should stop with their political peacocking and instead focus their energies on making sure our nations collegiate athletes are safe, both on and off the field.”

But a spokesman for Attorney General Roy Cooper, the Democratic nominee for governor, lamented the loss of the chance to host the sporting events.

“It seems that almost every day, we learn of a new consequence of HB 2,” Cooper spokesman Ford Porter said in a statement. “Hosting the NCAA championship events has long been a point of pride for North Carolina. These tournaments pump money into our economy and give our communities and fans a chance to showcase our incredible tradition of college sports. Now, our ability to host these events at the highest level has been eliminated because of Governor McCrory and HB 2.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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