The NCAA announced yesterday that they will not be holding any championship games in North Carolina this school year due to the state’s discriminatory anti-LGBTQ law, commonly referred to as HB 2.
This decision includes the lucrative first and second rounds of the Division I men’s basketball tournament, as well as the Division I championships for women’s soccer, women’s golf, women’s lacrosse, and a host of Division II and Division III games.
The law in question forbids localities from passing any anti-discrimination laws that extend protections to classes of people not covered by the state’s laws, which omit any references to sexual orientation or gender identity. The sweeping legislation prevents transgender people from using the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity, and makes discrimination against LGBTQ people in the public domain fully legal.
The NCAA released a statement saying, “NCAA championships and events must promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans. Current North Carolina state laws make it challenging to guarantee that host communities can help deliver on that commitment.” In addition, the Association pointed out that college athletes and staff could possibly be included under a ban of state-sponsored travel to North Carolina that was implemented by five states in the wake of HB 2.
The NCAA has previously made clear their support for LGBTQ protections. Last year the Association lobbied against a law in Indiana–the state in which they are based–that condoned discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. In April the NCAA adopted an anti-discrimination factor into their evaluation criteria for which cities are eligible to host tournaments and championships.
North Carolina has hosted more Division 1 men’s basketball tournaments than any other state. The NCAA’s announcement follows the NBA’s decision to no longer host its 2017 All Star Game in Charlotte. As of July, sixty-eight major corporations including American Airlines, Apple and NIKE had all signed on to an amicus brief supporting the Justice Department’s initiative to block HB 2.