New York college withdraws from North Carolina basketball game over anti-trans bathroom bill

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When a more conservative state passes an anti-LGBTQ law, more liberal cities and states will often enact bans on government-paid travel to that state. These travel bans are typically thought of more as symbolic displays than anything else. It's hard to measure the real pain caused by the city workers of Portland, Ore., who didn't travel to Indiana after Gov. Mike Pence signed the state's "religious freedom" law in 2015.

But a New York state ban on travel to North Carolina over its transphobic "bathroom bill" has had at least one very real, if slightly minor, consequence: a November basketball game between SUNY Albany and Duke University has been canceled.

The two colleges were supposed to face off at a Nov. 12 game on Duke's Durham, N.C., campus. But when the game disappeared from both team's schedules, the Durham Herald-Sun learned that the travel ban, instituted by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was to blame. Albany is one of four NCAA Division I sports schools in the State University of New York system affected by the decision.


“The State University of New York supports Governor Cuomo’s executive order banning all non-essential travel to the state of North Carolina, and we instructed our campuses to immediately review any existing travel plans by faculty and staff,” SUNY spokeswoman Holly Liapis told the Herald-Sun. “SUNY and its campuses continue to support the Governor on taking this stand.”

The news seems to have irked Gov. Pat McCrory, who released a statement trash-talking Gov. Cuomo and the Empire State in general.


"While Governor Cuomo has initiated a ridiculous boycott of our state, thousands of his citizens continue to move out of New York and now call North Carolina home,'' McCrory's statement said. "Millions of dollars of misleading, taxpayer-subsidized commercials nor an executive order will not stop this exodus. Governor Cuomo, our North Carolina borders are open and our citizens are hospitable. Play ball!"

McCrory might think the travel ban is ridiculous, but New York State is just one of dozens of government bodies and private businesses that have boycotted or banned travel to North Carolina. The state is running out of partners to play ball with.