The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced on Monday that it is relocating all seven previously awarded championship events out of North Carolina during the 2016-17 academic year due to concerns over House Bill 2, the state’s anti-trans bathroom bill passed by republican legislators that it says violates the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
The association says the decision by its board of governors is based on “the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections” that conflicted with the N.C.A.A’s commitment to “fairness and inclusion.”
“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships,” Mark Emmert, the N.C.A.A. president, said in a statement. “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.”
Today’s move by the N.C.A.A. comes just 5 months after the association’s board of governors approved a new anti-discrimination process for championship bids – a move largely championed by LGBT sports civil rights group, Athlete Ally. It also comes less than two months after the National Basketball Association announced that it has decided to move next February’s All-Star Game from Charlotte as a protest over HB2.
“The NCAA’s decision to move their championship games out of North Carolina is groundbreaking and sets an example for every other sporting body to follow. If athletic communities believe in the principles of respect and equal treatment for their LGBT fans, athletes and administrators, then championship events should only be awarded to those states and cities that reflect those values.” said Hudson Taylor, Executive Director of Athlete Ally.
Sports associations are not alone in their disgust over the states bathroom bill, a number of music performers and entertainers have canceled shows in the state, including Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Itzhak Perlman. Businesses have also been vocal about their opposition to HB2. Earlier this spring, PayPal scrapped a plan to build a new operations facility in Charlotte. Apple, among other large tech firms such as Facebook and Google have also spoken out in opposition the the new law.
Popular musician, Ciara and famed football player Russell Wilson announced last month that they decided to move their wedding out of North Carolina over the anti-trans bathroom bill.
The N.C.A.A. said on Monday that the situation in North Carolina is unique in that the laws passed there bar transgender people from using public restrooms that correspond to their gender identity and allow government officials to refuse to provide services to LGBT people.
The N.C.A.A. also criticized the part of North Carolina’s House Bill 2 that forbids local municipalities from passing their own anti-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation or gender identity.
Five states and a number of cities have passed laws that bar public employees and representatives of public institutions from traveling to North Carolina, which the sports association said could be interpreted to include student athletes and university athletics staff members.
The following N.C.A.A. events are being moved from North Carolina:
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 and second rounds (Greensboro), March 17 and 19.
2017 Division I women’s golf championships, regional (Greenville), May 8 to 10.
2017 Division III men’s and women’s tennis championships (Cary), May 22 to 27.
2017 Division I women’s lacrosse championship (Cary), May 26 and 28.
2017 Division II baseball championship (Cary), May 27 to June 3.