Metro Weekly

North Carolina could lose more NCAA championships if HB 2 isn’t repealed

Window in which to repeal anti-LGBT law is "closing rapidly," sports official says

Photo: U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Karolina A. Martinez, via Wikimedia.

A North Carolina state sports official is warning Tar Heel State lawmakers that the state “is on the brink” of losing NCAA championship events for up to six years if the state’s HB 2 law barring transgender people from using restrooms that match their gender identity is not repealed.

Writing on behalf of the N.C. Sports Association, Scott Dupree, the executive director of the Raleigh Sports Alliance, told General Assembly lawmakers that NCAA committees will be deciding this month where to hold various sporting events, including the ever-popular basketball tournaments in Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro, according to The Charlotte Observer.

Dupree told the General Assembly in his letter that North Carolina cities and schools have submitted 133 bids for NCAA events with a potential economic impact of $250 million.

“In a matter of days, our state’s sports tourism industry will suffer crushing, long-term losses and will essentially close its doors to NCAA business,” Dupree wrote. “Our window to act is closing rapidly.”

But Republicans in control of the General Assembly have resisted repealing the law. In December, lawmakers had initially attempted to repeal it after the Charlotte City Council agreed to repeal the LGBT-inclusive ordinance that had initially prompted them to pass HB 2. But the agreement was scuttled after Republican leadership — primarily Senate Leader Phil Berger — tried to add a provision to the repeal bill that would have put a six-month moratorium on allowing any locality to pass an LGBT-inclusive ordinance.

Unfortunately, because of the mistrust between the two parties, the hope of future efforts to repeal HB 2 seem unlikely to succeed, even though Gov. Roy Cooper (D) has tried to make repeal a priority in order to make the state more appealing to business. Several businesses nixed plans for expansion after HB 2 initially passed, wishing not to associate themselves with the discriminatory law.

Hoping to salvage the NCAA championships and ensure they are played in state, Dupree made one last plea to North Carolina lawmakers:

“Our last chance to save these events is now,” he said. “It will be a shame if HB 2 is resolved one day too late.”

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