College athletic league signals return to North Carolina after LGBT law revoked


March 31 (Reuters) - The Atlantic Coast Conference, a major collegiate athletic league, has made North Carolina eligible to once again host certain sporting events after the state repealed an LGBT law seen as discriminatory.

"The ACC Council of Presidents has voted that North Carolina will again be considered for hosting future ACC Championships," the conference said in a statement on Friday. The ACC in September announced it would move championship events at neutral sites from North Carolina for the 2016-17 academic year in objection to House Bill 2, which restricted bathroom use for transgender people.

Similar boycotts by other sports organizations, companies and entertainers cost North Carolina hundreds of millions of dollars worth of business.

Seeking to win that business back, lawmakers on Thursday repealed the bill, but they also approved a new measure that bans cities from passing their own anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people until 2020, drawing outrage from civil rights advocates.

That criticism cast doubt on whether boycotting businesses will return to the state.

In boycotting North Carolina, the ACC followed the lead of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which had made a similar decision a few days earlier.

The NCAA board is also considering a return to North Carolina, NCAA President Mark Emmert told reporters on Thursday. A decision was expected in the coming days, he said.

In basketball-crazed North Carolina, the withdrawal of NCAA tournament games and the National Basketball Association All-Star game, which had been awarded to Charlotte, reverberated throughout the state.

North Carolina's HB 2, the only statewide law of its kind, required transgender people to use the bathrooms, changing rooms and showers in state-run buildings that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity. (Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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