North Carolina is known as a haven of collegiate athletics, but the state's HB2 bathroom bill denying transgender people from using their preferred bathroom just threatened its status as a basketball hotbed.
In a press release issued late Monday evening, the NCAA's Board of Directors announced that they'd be relocating seven major championship tournaments scheduled to be played in North Carolina because of their "commitment to fairness and conclusion" and "the cumulative actions taken by the state (of North Carolina) concerning civil rights protections."
In greater detail later in the press release, the NCAA's Board of Governors cited the ramifications of the HB2 bill as the justification for the decision to relocate the tournaments. In a series of four points that explain how the actions of North Carolina's state government differs from those in other states, the first of those points reads that "North Carolina 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."
In the next bullet point, the release says that "North Carolina 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."
These are the tournaments that will be relocated for the 2016-2017 school year:
- 2016 Division I Women’s Soccer Championship, College Cup (Cary), Dec. 2 and 4.
- 2016 Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships (Greensboro), Dec. 2 and 3.
- 2017 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, first/second rounds (Greensboro), March 17 and 19.
- 2017 Division I Women’s Golf Championships, regional (Greenville), May 8-10.
- 2017 Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships (Cary), May 22-27.
- 2017 Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship (Cary), May 26 and 28.
- 2017 Division II Baseball Championship (Cary), May 27-June 3.
“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships,” Mark Emmert, the NCAA president, wrote in the statement. “We believe in providing a safe and respectful environment at our events and are committed to providing the best experience possible for college athletes, fans and everyone taking part in our championships."
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Earlier this year, the NBA announced it would pull its All-Star Game from Charlotte, also citing HB2.
In response, North Carolina's GOP party issued the following statement:
"I genuinely look forward to the NCAA merging all men's and women's teams together as singular, unified, unisex teams," spokeswoman Kami Mueller wrote. "Under the NCAA's logic, colleges should make cheerleaders and football players share bathrooms, showers and hotel rooms."
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.