North Carolina lawmakers and authorities have already started to weigh in on the NCAA and ACC’s decisions to move their championships out of the state, which will ultimately cost the state tens of millions of dollars.
The ACC announced Wednesday that it was moving its eight neutral site championships out of North Carolina because of House Bill 2 (HB2), a state law that requires transgender people to use public bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates not the gender with which they identify.
On Monday, the NCAA announced it was moving its championships out of the state because of the bill.
The move of both major sports entities was met with mixed reactions, though some were harsher than others.
“This is political theatre by the NCAA and ACC,” U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08), said in a statement. “If these multi-million dollar, tax-exempt organizations were interested in social change and not making a political statement, they would proceed with their marquee events in North Carolina and enact any transgender bathroom policy they wanted. This blatant political move — less than two months before the election — brings into question their tax-exempt status. This is an avenue we intend to explore.”
Similarly, Kami Mueller, the spokeswoman for the North Carolina GOP, had harsh words for the NCAA on Monday, including, “I wish the NCAA was this concerned about the women who were raped at Baylor.”
North Carolina Governor Pat McCory apparently recycled parts of his statement in response to both the NCAA on Monday and the ACC on Wednesday.
“This issue of redefining gender and basic norms of privacy will be resolved in the near future in the United States court system for not only North Carolina, but the entire nation,” she said. “I strongly encourage all public and private institutions to both respect and allow our nation’s judicial system to proceed without economic threats or political retaliation toward the 22 states that are currently challenging government overreach.”
But not all of the reactions were bad. In fact, some, including Charlotte’s mayor Jennifer Roberts and Democratic candidate for Governor Roy Cooper, believed the ACC’s decision to move its neutral championships out of state was just the push the government might need to repeal the law.
Equality NC viewed the ACC’s leaving as a win for its cause.
“Yesterday it was the NCAA. Last month it was the NBA. Today, the ACC — home conference to many of our beloved teams — will take their marquis events out of North Carolina,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro said in a statement. “It has never been more clear than it is right now – HB2 is hurting our state every minute that it remains law. It’s hurting our people, our reputation, and our economy. I’m calling on Pat McCrory today – accept responsibility for the legislation you signed. It’s crystal clear that HB2 is bad for us. Stop playing the blame game and clean up this mess you’ve made of our state, because we cannot afford to wait any longer.”
It’s hard to overstate the financial impact HB2 has had on the state of North Carolina since HB2 was passed by the legislature last March. Beyond the NCAA and ACC, the NBA cancelled its all-star game there, several entertainers have refused to perform in the state, companies have pulled their business, including PayPal, which cancelled more than 400 jobs in Charlotte.
Last year’s ACC title game brought in $32.4 million in revenue and $30.9-million the year before. The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) called the loss of the ACC title game “a blow to Charlotte’s visitor economy.”
“The cancellation of the 2016 ACC Football Championship is a blow to Charlotte’s visitor economy and is irreplaceable at this late date,” said CRVA CEO Tom Murray. “The event has consistently generated significant economic impact for the city that greatly contributes to our quality of life in Charlotte and in North Carolina and helps sustain thousands of jobs. We’ve proven to be a welcoming host city for these events and hope we’ll have the opportunity to bring the championship back to Charlotte in future years.”
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