Published: Tue, April 11, 2017
Sport | By Cecil Buchanan

NCAA 'reluctantly' agrees to let North Carolina host events

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.

Hopefully, the NCAA Board will continue to exercise its considerable influence when it undertakes the final selection of host cities over the coming weeks. But now that HB2 is off the books for good and the NCAA has come out to acknowledge it, however lukewarm the reception, it's likely we've seen the end of this charade barring any unforeseen changes. "It doubles down on the risky lie that transgender people are a threat to public safety, and it doesn't leave North Carolina the way it was before HB2", said Sarah Gillooly, Policy Director for the ACLU of North Carolina.

North Carolina's new Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, said he was pleased with the NCAA decision but that much work still needed to be done to protect LGBT people.

The move comes as the ACC also said it would also consider the state for championship games, but also as USA mayors denounced the legislative maneuvering, saying they will continue to boycott the state - proving the issue is far from resolved for North Carolina.

"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 LGBTQ protections, to remain effective", it added. The vote will allow the state to be considered for future tournament hosting, including the 2017-18 season.

The ACLU released a statement on House Bill 142 and the NCAA's vote. "It's simply another version of HB2 dressed up in a way desperate lawmakers hope will save state's economy", tweeted Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign.

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North Carolina lawmakers finally caved under the thumb of the NCAA when it repealed HB2, otherwise known as the "bathroom bill", last week.

The NCAA, Atlantic Coast Conference and National Basketball Association all pulled events from the state, effectively starving North Carolina of precious revenue that the events would generate.

"What is unclear at this point is the lasting impact on relations between the governor and General Assembly and relations within the House and Senate Republican caucuses".

The board said they had been 'hopeful that the state would fully repeal HB2'. The 2018 tournament has Charlotte, N.C., scheduled to host first and second-round events, and those games will now take place as scheduled.

Now that the NCAA is signaling its willingness to move on and return to North Carolina, the question remains whether other organizations will follow suit. "I'd say that one has a hard time supporting the argument that this was all worth it".

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