NCAA “Reluctantly” Ends North Carolina Ban After HB2 Repeal

The collegiate athletic association said that it would consider the state once again for championship games, days after the controversial law was repealed. The NCAA emphasized, however, that if antidiscrimination safeguards aren’t met, it will continue to place events elsewhere.

The University of North Carolina’s win in the NCAA men’s basketball championship Monday night isn’t the only reason many in the state are celebrating today.

On Tuesday morning, the NCAA announced that it would end its ban on holding championship events in North Carolina. But in a statement, the NCAA Board of Governors emphasized that it was doing so “reluctantly” after the repeal last week of the state’s controversial HB2 law.

“We are actively determining site selections, and this new law has minimally achieved a situation where we believe NCAA championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment,” the board said in a statement on Tuesday. “If we find that our expectations of a discrimination-free environment are not met, we will not hesitate to take necessary action at any time.”

Repeal Drives Vocal Outcry

HB2 blocked local governments from adopting antidiscrimination laws to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and required transgender people to use public bathrooms of their gender at birth. Critics of the repeal say that the replacement measure, HB142, maintains the spirit of HB2 because it prevents nondiscrimination laws from being passed at the municipal level for three years.

Human Rights Campaign, along with Equality North Carolina and the National Center for Transgender Equality, pledged legal action challenging HB142.

“This new law does not repeal HB2. Instead, it institutes a statewide prohibition on equality by banning nondiscrimination protections across North Carolina and fuels the flames of anti-transgender hate,” HRC President Chad Griffin said. “Each and every lawmaker who supported this bill has betrayed the LGBTQ community.”

Meanwhile, Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro called the NCAA’s decision “disappointing.”

“HB142 continues the same discriminatory scheme put forward by HB2 and does little to protect the NCAA’s players, employees, and fans,” Sgro said in a statement. “The NCAA’s decision has put a seal of approval on state-sanctioned discrimination.”

Business Groups look forward

On the other hand, many business groups welcomed the repeal. “[W]e are thrilled to put this chapter behind us,” the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association said in a post on its website. The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, noted it had been calling for such a compromise solution.

“From an economic development perspective, we have spent too much time over the last year talking to our clients about bathrooms,” the chamber said in a statement. “We are now able to focus on our great cost environment, [and] a workforce that is large, growing, and talented.”


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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