Could North Carolina law cost state NCAA events?
Could a new law in North Carolina relating to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity result in NCAA championship events being taken away from the state?
Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday overturned Charlotte’s anti-discrimination ordinance, which was supposed to take effect April 1. The Republican-led General Assembly also stopped other cities and counties from passing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. And public schools must require bathrooms or locker rooms be designated for use only by people based on their biological sex.
It’s not immediately clear whether the NCAA will take action in this case, but it has stepped into such situations in the past.
Cities and towns around the state of North Carolina are scheduled to host at least 20 championship events in the next two-plus years, including the Division I men’s basketball tournament and the Division I Women’s College Cup soccer finals. First- and second-round games of the basketball tournament are set for Greensboro in 2017 and Charlotte in 2018. The soccer event is to be held in Cary, which has hosted numerous men’s and women’s finals in that sport.
Division I women’s basketball first- and second-round tournament sites are awarded annually, usually to the top 16 seeded teams. Similar arrangements are made for the sites of Division I baseball tournament regionals and super regionals. Teams from schools in the state often do well enough to host those events.
But Greensboro, Cary, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Wingate and Conover already have been selected to host championship events in other Division I sports and/or Division II and Division III championships. For example, the eight-team, week-long Division II baseball championship is set for Cary this year and the next two.
The NCAA released a statement Thursday:
“We’ll continue to monitor current events, which include issues surrounding diversity, in all cities bidding on NCAA championships and events, as well as cities that have already been named as future host sites. Our commitment to the fair treatment of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has not changed and is at the core of our NCAA values. It is our expectation that all people will be welcomed and treated with respect in cities that host our NCAA championships and events.”
The association in 2001 imposed a ban on holding championship events in South Carolina and Mississippi because Confederate battle flags flew at state capitols. The ban does not prevent schools from earning the right to host a regional event, as with postseason baseball and women’s basketball tournaments.
In 2005, the NCAA banned schools that had what it deemed to be hostile or abusive mascots from hosting championship events. That ban mostly targeted schools with Native American mascots.
Last year ahead of the Final Four in Indiana, the NCAA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, expressed serious concerns about a religious freedom law that granted businesses the right to refuse service to gay and lesbian couples. The association was outspoken, and the law was repealed.
This article was selected for educational purposes only.
Jennifer M. Condaras
BIG EAST Conference
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