NCAA pulls 7 championships out of NC in wake of HB2

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/AP) – NCAA president Mark Emmert appeared on CBS This Morning Tuesday where he said pulling championships from North Carolina over HB2 was a “no brainer.”

The NCAA said Monday it was removing several sports championships out of North Carolina – four of which are planned in Wake County – for the upcoming season due to House Bill 2.

“There was hope this could be resolved during the summer, during the legislative session, or perhaps this fall through the court system. None of those things came to pass,” Emmert said on CBS This Morning.

Emmert said the NCAA’s Board of Governor’s had been monitoring HB2 and decided to make a move Monday in order to have time to move the events.

“This is an issue that is very fundamental to all of higher ed,” Emmert said. “Fairness and inclusion is at the heart of what the NCAA does.”

HB2 was signed into law by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory earlier this year.

Emmert said he spoke with McCrory in the Spring but did not talk with him Monday after the decision was made.

“This was a proverbial no brainer,” Emmert said.

The college sports body said in a press release the decision came “because of the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.”

HB2 requires transgender people to use restrooms at schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. It also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from local and statewide antidiscrimination protections.

Tuesday afternoon, McCrory issued the following statement:

“The 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. 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. Sadly, the NCAA, a multi-billion dollar, tax-exempt monopoly, failed to show this respect at the expense of our student athletes and hard-working men and women.”

Related: Full coverage of House Bill 2

The championships that are being pulled from North Carolina include so called “March Madness” men’s division one basketball games in Greensboro.

Emmert said the NCAA will determine the new locations for these championships soon.

Officials in Greensboro estimated that their local economy will lose $14 million as the NCAA men’s 1st and 2nd round games at the Greensboro Coliseum are moved, WFMY-TV reported.

A spokesman with McCrory’s office couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Monday and the governor was not present at Tuesday’s Council of State meeting. He called in to the meeting but made no comment on the NCAA pulling championship events.

The NCGOP’s spokeswoman blasted the decision Monday in statement, saying it is “so absurd it’s almost comical.”

“This is so absurd it’s almost comical. I genuinely look forward to the NCAA merging all men’s and women’s teams together as singular, unified, unisex teams. Under the NCAA’s logic, colleges should make cheerleaders and football players share bathrooms, showers and hotel rooms. This decision is an assault to female athletes across the nation. If you are unwilling to have women’s bathrooms and locker rooms, how do you have a women’s team? I wish the NCAA was this concerned about the women who were raped at Baylor. Perhaps the NCAA should stop with their political peacocking— and instead focus their energies on making sure our nation’s collegiate athletes are safe, both on and off the field.” – NCGOP spokeswoman Kami Mueller

Lt. Gov. Dan Forrest echoed Mueller’s comment and said “It’s unbelievable that these entities would invade the privacy of a woman or girl in restrooms.”

“The NCAA’s action sends a message to every female athlete and female fan attending their events that their privacy and security in a bathroom, shower or locker room isn’t worth the price of a ticket to a ballgame. We have seen the NCAA’s attitude towards women before when they stood by and did nothing during the rapes at Baylor. For years, we’ve seen the NBA turn a blind eye towards women victims of domestic abuse at the hands of their star players. Why should we be surprised now at the NCAA continuing this pattern of discrimination and degradation of women? The line has now been drawn in the sand, first by Hollywood, now by the NBA and NCAA, either accept their ‘progressive sexual agenda’ or pay the price. North Carolina will not play that game. We value our women too much to put a price tag on their heads. – Lt. Gov. Dan Forrest ”

Tuesday morning, Hillary Clinton tweeted about the move saying the NCAA made the right decision.

The only championship events that can be hosted in North Carolina this academic year are ones determined when a team earns the right to play on their own campus.

North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham and North Carolina State AD Debbie Yow both issued statements Monday evening saying they were disappointed at the loss of the events.

“We certainly hope there will be resolution in the very near future,” Yow said.

The campaign spokesman for Democrat Roy Cooper, the state’s attorney general and McCrory’s re-election opponent in November, said the law needs to be repealed.

“It seems that almost every day, we learn of a new consequence of HB2,” spokesman Ford Porter said. “… We need to repeal this law and get our state back on track.”

The NCAA’s move leaves the Atlantic Coast Conference football championship game in Charlotte as the marquee college sporting event in the state this year as the men’s basketball tournament starts a two-year stay in Brooklyn, New York.

However, that event also could be in jeopardy. In May, the ACC announced that member schools discussed the law during their annual spring meetings and said it could impact whether the state hosts league championship events.

In April, the NCAA announced it was adopting an anti-discrimination measure that would affect the way the governing body evaluates bids to host sporting events and required sites to “demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination.”

In a statement Monday night, Emmert said the governing body will delay announcements on future championship sites until early next year.

That comes as it reviews responses to questionnaires required of prospective site hosts on how they would comply with the NCAA’s anti-discrimination measure.

The NCAA also took special note of four ways North Carolina’s law differs from other states.

The NCAA pointed out that five states – Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington – and several cities prohibit travel by public employees and representatives of public institutions to the state of North Carolina. Those representatives prohibited to travel could include athletes, coaches and athletic administrators.

Monday’s action by the NCAA is the latest public and business backlash that has arisen since the law was enacted. The NBA moved its 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans instead of hosting it in Charlotte as originally scheduled because of the law.

Duke lost a men’s basketball game from its schedule when Albany backed out due to that state’s travel ban, while the Vermont women’s basketball team has canceled a December trip to play North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Entertainers like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Ringo Starr have canceled plans to play in North Carolina. And PayPal reversed plans to open a 400-employee operation center in Charlotte.

The seven events that are being moved from North Carolina are

  • 2016 Division I Women’s Soccer Championship, College Cup (Cary), Dec. 2 and 4.
  • 2016 Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships (Greensboro), Dec. 2 and 3.
  • 2017 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, first/second rounds (Greensboro), March 17 and 19.
  • 2017 Division I Women’s Golf Championships, regional (Greenville), May 8-10.
  • 2017 Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships (Cary), May 22-27.
  • 2017 Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship (Cary), May 26 and 28.
  • 2017 Division II Baseball Championship (Cary), May 27-June 3.

The ACC Football Championship scheduled for Dec. 3 in Charlotte was not affected by Monday’s announcement.

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