The NCAA has issued another stern warning to North Carolina on the first anniversary of that state’s transphobic HB2 legislation, known then as the “bathroom bill.” The warning: Change the law or be blocked from events until 2022.
That could cause millions of dollars in lost potential revenue for a state that has been one of the biggest collegiate sports hotbeds in the country.
HB2 was enacted last year because the city of Charlotte passed a nondiscrimination ordinance to allow transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with, the The Charlotte Observer reported. The law blocked local transgender rights ordinances by making it illegal for cities to expand upon already existing state laws on discrimination in public “accommodations.”
Both the NBA and the NCAA fought back by pulling games and tournaments from North Carolina, and rescheduling them elsewhere. But that hasn’t convinced Republican supporters of HB2, who are so far rejecting efforts to repeal it.
On Thursday, the NCAA issued this statement:
Last year, the NCAA Board of Governors relocated NCAA championships scheduled in North Carolina because of the cumulative impact HB2 had on local communities’ ability to assure a safe, healthy, discrimination free atmosphere for all those watching and participating in our events. Absent any change in the law, our position remains the same regarding hosting current or future events in the state.
Next week, NCAA sports committees will select tournament sites for 2018-2022, announcing those decisions on April 18. The selections cannot be reversed once they are announced, the NCAA noted.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who took office last January, is practically begging lawmakers to repeal HB2.
“I have offered numerous compromises and remain open to any deal that will bring jobs and sports back to North Carolina and begin to repair our reputation,” Cooper said, according to The Charlotte Observer. “Legislative Republicans have been all too happy to use their super-majorities to pass damaging partisan laws. It’s time for them to step up, meet halfway, and repeal HB2.”
Democratic state senator Joel Ford introduced a bill this week to repeal HB2. And Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President JoDee Winterhof warned, “North Carolina lawmakers have run out of time for their reckless political gamesmanship,” the newspaper reported. But Republican state lawmakers so far are not cooperating.