ACC pulls 10 championship games from North Carolina; HB2 “inconsistent” with league’s values

acc1The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) will follow in the footsteps of the NCAA and relocate ten scheduled championship games from North Carolina. This includes the ACC football championship.

The reason for the move?

The ACC’s unified opposition to the discriminatory House Bill 2.

Here’s the official statement from the Council of Presidents:

“As members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the ACC Council of Presidents reaffirmed our collective commitment to uphold the values of equality, diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination. Every one of our 15 universities is strongly committed to these values and therefore, we will continue to host ACC Championships at campus sites. We believe North Carolina House Bill 2 is inconsistent with these values, and as a result, we will relocate all neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year. All locations will be announced in the future from the conference office.”

And here’s what other leading ACC voices are saying:

Clemson University President James P. Clements, chair of the ACC Council of Presidents:

“The ACC presidents engaged in a constructive, wide-ranging and vigorous discussion of this complex issue over the past two days. The decision to move the neutral site championships out of North Carolina while HB 2 remains the law was not an easy one but it is consistent with the shared values of inclusion and non-discrimination at all of our institutions.”

ACC Commissioner John Swofford:

“The ACC Council of Presidents made it clear that the core values of this league are of the utmost importance, and the opposition to any form of discrimination is paramount. Today’s decision is one of principle, and while this decision is the right one, we recognize there will be individuals and communities that are supportive of our values as well as our championship sites that will be negatively affected. Hopefully, there will be opportunities beyond 2016-17 for North Carolina neutral sites to be awarded championships.”

This post will be update throughout the day with more reaction.


McCrory weighs in on NCAA’s decision as first Republican Senator calls on HB2’s repeal

mc-barringer450A day after the NCAA announced it would pull seven championship games from North Carolina because of the discriminatory nature of House Bill 2, Gov. McCrory issued a statement Tuesday saying it was a matter for the courts to decide:

“The issue of redefining gender and basic norms of privacy will be resolved in the near future in the United States court system for not only North Carolina, but the entire nation. I strongly encourage all public and private institutions to both respect and allow our nation’s judicial system to proceed without economic threats or political retaliation toward the 22 states that are currently challenging government overreach. Sadly, the NCAA, a multi-billion dollar, tax-exempt monopoly, failed to show this respect at the expense of our student athletes and hard-working men and women.”

And while the issue may very well be resolved ‘in the near future’ at least one Republican state legislator doesn’t want to wait any longer.

Wake County Senator Tamara Barringer said in a statement to WRAL-TV it was time for lawmakers to revisit HB2 and the unintended consequences of its speedy passage:

“With the most recent announcements impacting our state, there are simply too many examples of very sad and unfortunate ramifications and unintended effects of HB2.

I do not want men or boys legally to be able to share the same locker rooms or bathrooms with my 16-year-old daughter and her classmates or teammates. However, if we want to preserve the proud heritage of North Carolina, it is time for our leadership to consider a substantial and immediate repeal of HB2.”

Barringer represents a portion of Cary, which will be losing four NCAA championship events. Cary has pegged that loss at $2 million.

Greensboro has placed the loss of NCAA events in their city at $17 million.


NCAA announces plans to relocate 7 championship events from North Carolina over #HB2

First it was the NBA. Now it’s the NCAA.

On Monday the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced that it would move seven previously awarded championship events from North Carolina during the 2016-17 academic year.

While not naming House Bill 2 in the press release , the NCAA made it clear its decision was based on cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.

Here’s more from the official release:

ncaaIn its decision Monday, the Board of Governors emphasized that 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 if NCAA events remained in the state, the board said.

“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA president. “We believe in providing a safe and respectful environment at our events and are committed to providing the best experience possible for college athletes, fans and everyone taking part in our championships.”

The board stressed that the dynamic in North Carolina is different from that of other states because of at least four specific factors:

North Carolina laws invalidate any local law that treats sexual orientation as a protected class or has a purpose to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals.
North Carolina has the only statewide law that makes it unlawful to use a restroom different from the gender on one’s birth certificate, regardless of gender identity.
North Carolina law provides legal protections for government officials to refuse services to the LGBT community.
Five states plus numerous cities prohibit travel to North Carolina for public employees and representatives of public institutions, which could include student-athletes and campus athletics staff. These states are New York, Minnesota, Washington, Vermont and Connecticut.

“As representatives of all three divisions, the Board of Governors must advance college sports through policies that resolve core issues affecting student-athletes and administrators,” said G.P. “Bud” Peterson, Board of Governors chair and Georgia Institute of Technology president. “This decision is consistent with the NCAA’s long-standing core values of inclusion, student-athlete well-being and creating a culture of fairness.”

These seven championship events will be relocated from North Carolina for 2016-17:

  • 2016 Division I Women’s Soccer Championship, College Cup (Cary), Dec. 2 and 4.
  • 2016 Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships (Greensboro), Dec. 2 and 3.
  • 2017 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, first/second rounds (Greensboro), March 17 and 19.
  • 2017 Division I Women’s Golf Championships, regional (Greenville), May 8-10.
  • 2017 Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships (Cary), May 22-27.
  • 2017 Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship (Cary), May 26 and 28.
  • 2017 Division II Baseball Championship (Cary), May 27-June 3.

Emmert said the NCAA will determine the new locations for these championships soon.

“The NCAA Constitution clearly states our values of inclusion and gender equity, along with the membership’s expectation that we as the Board of Governors protect those values for all,” said Susquehanna University President Jay Lemons, vice chair of the Board of Governors and chair of the ad hoc committee on diversity and inclusion. “Our membership comprises many different types of schools – public, private, secular, faith-based – and we believe this action appropriately reflects the collective will of that diverse group.”

Historically, the Association has taken steps to ensure its championship environment is consistent with its values. The NCAA bans championships in states where governments display the Confederate battle flag or authorize sports wagering and at schools that use hostile and abusive Native American imagery.

The only championship events that can be hosted in North Carolina this academic year are those that are decided when student-athletes earn the opportunity to play a championship on their own campus. The Board of Governors said this decision to allow these championships – called nonpredetermined sites – to be played in North Carolina is consistent with the NCAA’s commitment to student-athletes.

Based on an April directive from the Board of Governors, which represents all three divisions, cities interested in hosting future NCAA championships completed a questionnaire this summer that required sites to provide information about any local anti-discrimination laws; provisions for refusal of services; and other facility-specific information.

A group of representatives from NCAA schools will continue to evaluate these responses to determine which locations can host future championships. These decisions, typically announced in early December, will be delayed until next year, Emmert said.


North Carolina remembers Rodney Ellis, a champion for public education (w/ video)

NC Policy Watch was deeply saddened to learn of Saturday’s untimely passing of Rodney Ellis, the former president of the NC Association of Educators.

Ellis was a tireless advocate for North Carolina’s 95,000 teachers and a frequent critic of legislative policies that diverted money from the state’s public school classrooms.

Last September, Ellis sat down with Policy Watch’s Chris Fitzsimon to share his thoughts on teacher pay, the expansion of vouchers, and his concerns about the dismantling of public schools. Click below to hear an excerpt of that interview:

YouTube Preview Image

Here’s how others are remembering Ellis:

“He committed his life to his family and to making public schools better for every child. We will miss his tremendous leadership at NCAE and his tenacious commitment to public education.” – Mark Jewell, NCAE President

“Rodney Ellis was a dedicated advocate with a passion for public education. His devotion to North Carolina’s students was a labor of love. Ann and I offer our prayers for his family at this difficult time.”Governor Pat McCrory

“What made Rodney so special is that he cared so much for children, for public education and for making sure everyone had an opportunity to have a good life.” Ronda Mays, president of the Forsyth County Association of Educators told the Winston-Salem Journal.

There’s no word yet on funeral arrangements.

Commentary, News

This week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

1. NC Board of Elections cools voting plan controversy in marathon meeting

Given the controversy leading up to Thursday’s State Board of Elections meeting, many were predicting a bit of a mess.

And for good reason.

First, a federal court invalidated large parts of NC election laws rewritten in 2013, including the cutting of early voting down to 10 days.

Then, as county election boards across the state tried to agree on local early voting plans last month, they came under pressure from the NC GOP to cut or prevent Sunday voting, cut back voting hours and limit the number of voting sites in places popular with Democratic voters and generally make party-line decisions for the good of the party.

Many of the conservative appointees to those boards did just that. [Continue reading...]

jk-907-hb22. McCrory’s HB2 timeline: Tracking the Governor’s oft-changing stance and explanations

As the battle of HB2 continues it is instructive to look at Gov. Pat McCrory’s shifting positions on the law, its necessity and the arguments used to justify it.

Whether he was voicing concerns about “public safety” and protecting “long established values and norms,” defending “state sovereignty” or contending that that transgender people are actually mentally ill, the Governor’s explanations for the law (and, indeed, his position on the law itself) have changed frequently and sometimes dramatically over the last six months. Though by no means totally comprehensive, the following timeline highlights several key moments in this process.
February 22: The Charlotte City Council extends protections in its non-discrimination ordinance to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. This includes protections against discrimination in places of “public accommodation.” Controversially, the law would explicitly allow transgender people to use public restrooms that match their gender identity.

Before the city council vote, McCrory emailed the council’s two Republican members to say passage of the ordinance would result in blowback from Raleigh. [Continue reading…]

***Bonus read with video: McCrory vs. the NC Chamber: One of them is not telling the truth

Farm Tour_33. Gov. McCrory berates federal government over Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

Gov. Pat McCrory, who rarely misses an opportunity to accuse the federal government of overreach, is now targeting the Department of Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over regulations on a national wildlife refuge.

Monday McCrory and Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler toured Tyrrell and Washington counties, where Tropical Storm Hermine dumped five to 10 inches of rain last weekend. During a stop near Columbia and Creswell in Tyrrell County, McCrory remarked that “federal government regulations of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is compounding flooding issues on these farms,” according to a press release from his office.

McCrory also “highlighted how the federal government is trying to convert farmland into swampland, and that the state is continuing its effort to protect North Carolina farmers and economic development.” [Continue reading...]

TeacherPayRaises4. Why NC is not measuring teacher pay properly (and how we should do it)

Politicians from both sides of the political spectrum understand that teachers are the most important classroom factor when it comes to improving student performance. Unfortunately, their policies over the past decade have failed to reflect this understanding. North Carolina’s average teacher pay ranking has fallen from 22nd in FY 03-04 to 41st in FY 15-16, and enrollment in teacher preparation programs is plummeting.

Competitive salary systems play a vital role in recruiting and retaining the best and brightest into the teaching profession. High-performing countries such as South Korea and Finland have made competitive salaries for teachers the foundation upon which their educational systems are built. Competitive salaries benefit other recruitment and retention strategies such as tightening admission standards to schools of education, offering paths for professional growth, and increasing the prestige of the profession. Attracting high-performing teachers into the profession is especially important given the important impact high-quality teachers have on students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. [Continue reading…]

***Bonus video: NCAE’s Mark Jewell on the $50,000 teacher

WB-9075. It’s not too late for the U.S. Senate to do its job
The facts of the Merrick Garland nomination still demand action (and indicate that it may still be possible)

“Better late than never.”

It’s an unfortunate aspect of modern American politics that this simple little aphorism of compromise and common ground is frequently derided and discarded as the language of “losers.” In today’s hyper-partisan world of supersized egos, pitched ideological battles and “winner take all” government, it’s frequently seen as a sign of weakness for politicians to admit an error and reverse course or for their opponents to accept such a change with grace and understanding. It’s better to plow ahead (or to accuse the other side of a “flip flop”) and score points with one’s political base – or, at least, so goes the thinking in some circles.

Happily, all hope is not lost in this realm. Despite the toxic tack that the national political debate has taken throughout most of 2016, major opportunities remain to pull back from the precipice of utter gridlock and to get some important things done that will benefit the nation and the various political players on both sides of the national divide. What’s more, there are even a few indications that the men and women in power in Washington are beginning actually to grasp this reality. [Continue reading...]