State lawmakers who hoped a repeal compromise of the anti-LGBT law HB2 would be enough to return NCAA championship games to North Carolina got their answer Tuesday.
The NCAA announced that post-season soccer games would return to North Carolina in 2018.
The far more lucrative first and second rounds of Division I men’s basketball will return in 2020.
(Greensboro was tapped as a host site in 2020, with Raleigh hosting the first two rounds of basketball in 2021 at PNC arena.)
The NCAA explained its site selection this way:
Criteria for selecting the host sites included creating what will be an exceptional experience for the student-athletes, along with adherence to NCAA bid specifications. Specifications can include, but are not limited to, providing optimal facilities; ease of travel to the location and ample lodging; and adherence to NCAA principles, which include providing an atmosphere that is safe and respects the dignity of all attendees. The site selections follow the NCAA Board of Governors’ vote to allow consideration of championship bids in North Carolina.
Lawmakers replaced HB2 with House Bill 142 earlier this month, though LGBT advocates called the new law a “sham” as it prevents local governments from passing their own non-discrimination ordinances through 2020.
The Human Rights Campaign and Equality NC have condemned the NCAA’s decision:
“The NCAA has fallen ‘hook, line, and sinker’ for this ‘bait and switch’ sham ‘deal’ doubling down on discrimination,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “Even worse, the NCAA has inexcusably gone back on its promise to ensure all championship games are held in locations that are safe, respectful, and free of discrimination. By rewarding North Carolina with championship games, the NCAA has undermined its credibility and is sending a dangerous message to lawmakers across the country who are targeting LGBTQ people with discriminatory state legislation. In addition to protecting the broader LGBTQ community, the NCAA needs to clearly state how they will be protecting their student athletes, personnel and fans.”
“How can LGBTQ people — especially members of the transgender community — be safe and free from discrimination, much less protected against mistreatment or harassment with the sham fake repeal of HB2?” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. “The unfortunate reality is they cannot. HB 142 was a cheap political trick that did nothing to alleviate the concerns the NCAA initially outlined when it pulled games from the Tar Heel state last year, and even adds new forms of discrimination to North Carolina’s laws. It is unthinkable that the NCAA would abandon its commitment to LGBTQ fans, players, and administrators by falling for this trick.”