The NCAA issued a straightforward warning to the state of North Carolina on Thursday, the one-year anniversary of the controversial House Bill 2: Revise or repeal the law in the coming weeks, or don’t host any NCAA events between now and 2022.
In a statement re-affirming its stance on the state’s “bathroom bill,” the NCAA said, “Absent any change in the law, our position remains the same regarding hosting current or future events in the state.”
The bill, which, among other things, prevents transgender people from using public restrooms corresponding to the gender with which they identify, compelled the NCAA to move seven championship events out of North Carolina in 2016-17.
“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,” the NCAA statement read. It will stand by that position until the law is changed.
NCAA committees will begin to meet next week to decide on host sites for championship events from 2018 to 2022. Once made, the decisions are final, and will be announced on April 18.
North Carolina cities have bid for 133 events across all NCAA sports from 2018 to 2022. If the law is not changed by the time the committees make their decisions, the state’s cities will win zero of those 133 bids.
The bill forced the NCAA to move first-round NCAA tournament games from Greensboro, North Carolina to Greenville, South Carolina in 2017. Both Duke and North Carolina played in Greenville, and the Blue Devils lost to South Carolina, which was playing a de facto home game because of the relocation.
Both Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and North Carolina coach Roy Williams have been critical of the law, and have called for it to be repealed.
“It would be nice if our state got as smart and also would host not just basketball tournaments but concerts and other NCAA events. But maybe we’ll get there in the next century,” Krzyzewski said after the loss to South Carolina.
Prior to the start of the tournament, Krzyzewski said, “Look, it’s a stupid thing. That’s my political statement. If I was president or governor I’d get rid of it.”
“It shouldn’t just be about athletic events,” Williams said this past week. “It should be about what’s right and wrong. And what we have now is wrong.”
The NCAA isn’t the only organization that has moved banner events out of the state. The NBA moved its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans. The ACC has moved both football and basketball postseason events.
The North Carolina Sports Association sent a letter to the state’s House of Representatives and General Assembly in February warning that the economic impact of the bill could reach $250 million as the state continues to miss out on major sporting events.
Democratic governor Roy Cooper issued a statement on efforts to amend the bill, saying “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. 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 HB 2.”
More March Madness coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• Longtime Georgetown coach John Thompson III fired after 13 seasons
• LaVar Ball, Stephen A. Smith get in epic shouting match
• New coach has change of heart minutes before UMass intro
• NCAA gives state of North Carolina deadline to repeal controversial law