After awarding the national championship trophy to the University of North Carolina for Div I Men’s Basketball, NCAA Board of Governors’ announced the morning that NCAA championships previously awarded to North Carolina for 2017-18 will remain in the state and that the NCAA host committee is open to consider bids from the state of North Carolina for future NCAA events over the next six years. The committee is currently in the process of reviewing host city bids for championship events and the committee has announced that its final decisions will be made on April 18, 2017 for championship events through 2022.
In August of 2016, the NCAA Board of Governors instructed the relocation of NCAA championships scheduled in North Carolina during the 2016-17 academic year because the non-profit declared HB2 had a harmful cumulative effect because it restricted local communities from passing non-discrimination ordinances. Last week, North Carolina lawmakers enacted compromise legislation that repealed HB2 and replaced it with a new law, HB142, that addressed a number of the concerns that led to the relocation of the NCAA championships.
NCAA said, “While the new law meets the minimal NCAA requirements, the board remains concerned that some may perceive North Carolina’s moratorium against affording opportunities for communities to extend basic civil rights as a signal that discriminatory behavior is permitted and acceptable, which is inconsistent with the NCAA Bylaws. However, we recognize the quality championships hosted by the people of North Carolina in years before HB2. And this new law restores the state to that legal landscape: a landscape similar to other jurisdictions presently hosting NCAA championships.”
In fact a quick review by Politifact shows state laws show over 10,000 municipalities and 29 other states have laws similar to North Carolina.
Reaction to the unexpected announcement this morning was mixed. Tami Fitzgerald, NC Values Coalition Executive Director said, “The NCAA’s boycott of North Carolina achieved what it wanted—the repeal of HB2—proving that bullying works as long as you meet the demands of the bully; however, the NCAA had no business demanding anything of North Carolina lawmakers. Nondiscrimination laws in North Carolina—even under HB2—have always been similar to 29 other states and 10,000 other multiplicities.”
The Human Rights Campaign, the NAACP, Equality NC, and the National Center for Transgender Equality had been heavily lobbying NCAA to continue boycotting North Carolina. Today the organizations blasted the Board of Governors and said, “After drawing a line in the sand and calling for repeal of HB2, the NCAA simply let North Carolina lawmakers off the hook.”