RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The NCAA announced tournament sites for the next five years Tuesday, including a number of North Carolina locations.
North Carolina is back in the running after lawmakers repealed House Bill 2.
Greensboro will host the first and second round of the 2019 women’s and 2020 men’s basketball tournament, according to the NCAA.
In 2021, N.C. State will host the first and second round of the men’s basketball tournament at the PNC Arena.
Mount Olive and Cary will host the Division II Baseball Championship in 2019 through 2022.
In 2022, Greensboro will host the DII men’s and women’s swimming and diving championships.
N.C. State will host the 2022 men’s and women’s rifle championships.
In 2020, N.C. State will host a women’s gymnastics regional.
“I was cautiously optimistic but, to be honest, I didn’t know what to expect,” said Scott Dupree of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance. “On the heels of HB2 and possibly an HB2 aftereffect, … I wasn’t sure how that would play out. … (And) it’s just so competitive now.”
Wake County had a total of 57 bids for tournament and championship games over the next five years. It received 13 of them. Officials estimated the impact at $12 million and 30,000 hotel rooms.
All of the county’s bids were for events at N.C. State or Cary. The NCAA received a total of more than 3,000 bids from across the nation, including more than 130 from North Carolina.
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Now, many towns across the state are optimistic after the NCAA said a majority of the board “reluctantly” agreed to allow consideration of championship bids in North Carolina.
NCAA officials said House Bill 142, a compromise bill to HB2, met “the minimal NCAA requirements.”
The organization pulled championships from the state last year in response to HB2.
LGBT advocates like Equality NC are critical of the organization’s decision.
“We had hoped that the NCAA would stand with the LGBT community. They got pushed by Roy Cooper instead and they succumbed to his political pressure,” said Equality NC’s Chris Sgro.
There’s no word on the exact timing of today’s announcement.