Not even two months after the NBA yanked the 2017 All-Star game out of Charlotte in response to a controversial bill passed by the North Carolina General Assembly, NCAA officials have made a similar decision.
They announced Monday evening that they’re relocating all seven championship events previously awarded to North Carolina during the 2016-17 academic year.
The most high-profile event to be pulled will be first- and second-round games of the Division I men’s basketball tournament that were scheduled to be played in Greensboro. The state will also lose the women’s soccer College Cup, the women’s lacrosse championships, a women’s golf regional and three other lower-division championships.
The NCAA’s decision to pull those seven events is its way of condemning House Bill 2, which became law in North Carolina in March. HB2 is best known for requiring transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding with their birth gender and for limiting the ability of employees to sue for discrimination or wrongful termination.
Kami Mueller, spokeswoman for the North Carolina Republican Party, issued a sharp rebuke to the NCAA’s decision later Monday night, questioning its logic and saying, “I wish the NCAA was this concerned about the women who were raped at Baylor.”
Here's the NC GOP's response to the NCAA. I made sure it was not a parody account. pic.twitter.com/BD8Ak8Rx0q
— Andrew Carter (@_andrewcarter) September 13, 2016
In its statement announcing its decision, the NCAA said its events must “promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans.” Under current North Carolina laws, the NCAA says it could not guarantee that host communities could deliver such an environment.
“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said. “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.”
While Duke and North Carolina are among the obvious losers from this announcement because they will lose potential home-court advantage in these events, not all coaches and administrators at both schools will be displeased with this development. Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and athletic director Kevin White both called HB2 “embarrassing” earlier this year and said they would understand if schools chose to cancel games in the state of North Carolina as a result of the law.
The University of Albany axed its previously scheduled Nov. 12 men’s basketball road game at Duke. The Blue Devils, North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest are not believed to have lost any other games from their respective men’s basketball schedules as a result of the law.
– – – – – – –