NCAA announces position on House Bill 2 repeal

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The NCAA on Tuesday released a statement regarding its position on the repeal of House Bill 2.

The NCAA board of directors announced it will “reluctantly” allow the return of NCAA championship games to North Carolina following last week’s repeal.

Tournament sites through 2022 will be announced in mid-April and the language in the statement suggests the state’s 131 bids are in the mix.

Greensboro will get back three events for the upcoming fiscal year — Division 2 men’s swimming and diving championship in spring 2018; Division 3 golf in May 2018; and Division 3 men’s and women’s soccer in the fall of 2017.

NCAA says House Bill 142 — the bill that repealed House Bill 2 last week — “minimally achieved a situation where we believe championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment.”

The release also says that any championships previously rewarded for 2017-2018 will remain in the state.

Last year, the NCAA relocated championship events scheduled from 2018 to 2022 in North Carolina and the NBA moved its All-Star game out of Charlotte.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger released a joint statement on the NCAA’s decision.

“We are pleased with the NCAA’s decision and acknowledgment that our compromise legislation ‘restores the state to… a landscape similar to other jurisdictions presently hosting NCAA championships.’”

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday, “Last week’s compromise was an important step forward for our state. While more work remains to be done, it’s good news that the NCAA will be returning to North Carolina. We will continue our work with them to fight for statewide antidiscrimination protections for LGBT North Carolinians.”

Here is the full statement from the NCAA:

In August of 2016, the NCAA Board of Governors instructed the relocation of NCAA championships scheduled in North Carolina during the 2016-17 academic year because of the cumulative impact HB2 had on local communities’ ability to ensure a safe, healthy, discrimination-free atmosphere for all those watching and participating in our events.

Last week, the elected officials of North Carolina enacted compromise legislation that repealed HB2 and replaced it with a new law, HB142, that addressed a number of the concerns that led to the relocation of the NCAA championships.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.

In the end, a majority on the NCAA Board of Governors reluctantly voted to allow consideration of championship bids in North Carolina by our committees that are presently meeting. The NCAA championships previously awarded to North Carolina for 2017-18 will remain in the state. The board, however, directs that any site awarded a championship event in North Carolina or elsewhere be required to submit additional documentation demonstrating how student-athletes and fans will be protected from discrimination.

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