GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP/CBS North Carolina) – NCAA President Mark Emmert says the association’s board of governors will decide by next week whether the repeal of North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom bill” is enough to bring March Madness and other championship sporting events back to the state.
“I’m personally very pleased that they have a bill to debate and discuss,” he said. “The politics of this in North Carolina are obviously very, very difficult. But they have passed a bill now and it will be a great opportunity for our board to sit and debate and discuss it.”
A few hours before Emmert gave his annual pre-Final Four news conference in Arizona, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill that rolled back a law that required transgender people to use public bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate. It also excluded gender identity and sexual orientation from statewide antidiscrimination protections.
Emmert says the NCAA delayed it site selection process for the 2018-22 cycle to allow North Carolina lawmakers as much time as possible to address HB2. The site selection committees began meeting this week.
Emmert said the NCAA Board will ultimately decide: “Can (North Carolina) host events that reflect the values of the association in the venues that are available for us?”
The decision to leave was not lightly made, he said.
“Everybody loves being in North Carolina for our games,” he said. “It’s a state, obviously, that in many ways is synonymous with college sports. They are great hosts. Nobody made the decision to leave North Carolina casually. It was a very, very difficult decision for the board to make, and I’m sure the next decision will be very difficult as well.”