GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Monday’s decision from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to pull seven 2016-17 championships from North Carolina because of the state's stance on LGBT rights brought out strong feelings from City of Greensboro officials.
“You know I would have to say I was very disappointed, but I wasn’t surprised,” Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughn said.
“I was watching the football game last night and it was like a kick in my gut. I think I’ve been in denial,” Greensboro Convention and Visitors Bureau President Henri Fourrier said.
Both the men's and women’s Soccer Division III Championships in December and the Men’s Division I Basketball Championship games in March will no longer be held in Greensboro.
Leaders say it’s a major blow to the city’s businesses and its reputation.
“You can’t put a dollar figure on what all of the televised rights would have brought us. We currently have 51 other proposals pending and it is frightening what the status of those proposals may be,” Vaughn explained.
Fourrier estimated financial damage to Greensboro alone to be around $17 million.
It’s a loss he says will not only just impact businesses.
“To the local bus boy to sky caps at the airport to attendance at the gas station, waiters.” he said.
“In terms of the long-term impact of the relationship [with the NCAA] we don’t know, it is still early to tell, but we know that they are sympathetic to the situation,” said Kim Strable, president of the Greensboro Sports Commission.
While the NCAA’s relationship with the city is still unknown, another question now looms.
“We know that ACC will be making a decision in the near future...and the fear really is that they will blacklist the state of North Carolina,” Vaughn said.
Greensboro Coliseum officials say they will not make any statements regarding the NCAA’s decision.
More than 600 of its part-time workers were on staff for the upcoming games.