The NCAA announced this morning that its board of governors has "reluctantly voted to allow consideration of championship bids in North Carolina" after the state passed a so-called repeal of HB 2
Last summer, the NCAA pulled its 2016–17 championship games from North Carolina because of HB 2's provisions regulating bathroom use and nullifying local ordinances that sought to protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination. Last week, the organization put the state on notice, saying it had forty-eight hours to repeal HB 2 or else forfeit NCAA games through 2022.
On Thursday, Governor Roy Cooper, who campaigned on getting rid of HB 2, signed House Bill 142, which says local governments and schools can't regulate bathroom access and prohibits local nondiscrimination ordinances until 2020.
Here's a sample from the NCAA's statement this morning:
Last week, the elected officials of North Carolina enacted compromise legislation that repealed HB2 and replaced it with a new law, HB142, that addressed a number of the concerns that led to the relocation of the NCAA championships. As with most compromises, this new law is far from perfect.
The NCAA did not lobby for any specific change in the law. The Board of Governors, however, was hopeful that the state would fully repeal HB2 in order to allow the host communities to ensure a safe, healthy, discrimination-free atmosphere for the championship sites. While the new law meets the minimal NCAA requirements, the board remains concerned that some may perceive North Carolina’s moratorium against affording opportunities for communities to extend basic civil rights as a signal that discriminatory behavior is permitted and acceptable, which is inconsistent with the NCAA Bylaws.
However, we recognize the quality championships hosted by the people of North Carolina in years before HB2. And this new law restores the state to that legal landscape: a landscape similar to other jurisdictions presently hosting NCAA championships.
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. 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.
We have been assured by the state that this new law allows the NCAA to enact its inclusive policies by contract with communities, universities, arenas, hotels, and other service providers that are doing business with us, our students, other participants, and fans. Further, outside of bathroom facilities, the new law allows our campuses to maintain their own policies against discrimination, including protecting LGBTQ rights, and allows cities’ existing nondiscrimination ordinances, including LBGTQ protections, to remain effective.
The organization went on to say that the state will be allowed to host 2017–18 championships it has already been awarded. Any site chosen to host an NCAA championship event will be required to submit "additional documentation demonstrating how student-athletes and fans will be protected from discrimination."
House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger issued a joint statement on the announcement this morning:
Human Rights Campaign and Equality NC called the announcement a "damaging reversal on discriminatory laws in North Carolina."
“The NCAA's decision to backtrack on their vow to protect LGBTQ players, employees and fans is deeply disappointing and puts people at risk," HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement “After drawing a line in the sand and calling for repeal of HB2, the NCAA simply let North Carolina lawmakers off the hook."
"It is disappointing to see the NCAA backpedal after it stood strong against the deeply discriminatory HB 2," said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. "HB 142 continues the same discriminatory scheme put forward by HB 2 and does little to protect the NCAA's players, employees, and fans. The NCAA's decision has put a seal of approval on state-sanctioned discrimination."
The ACC announced last week
that it would also reconsider North Carolina for tournaments.