The National Collegiate Athletic Association is moving sporting events out of North Carolina en masse over the state’s anti-LGBT law.
North Carolina lost a string of big investment ventures earlier this year over Republican Governor Pat McCrory’s decision to sign the contentious HB 2 – which voided all local ordinances protecting LGBT rights, banned transgender people from using their preferred bathroom, and permits businesses to discriminate against LGBT people on the grounds of religious belief.
McCrory continues to insist the anti-trans rules are “common sense”, but the state has faced a string of lawsuits as human rights groups believe HB 2 to be a clear violation of the US Constitution.
Republicans in the state also stoked fury by draining $500,000 from the Disaster Relief Fund, to cover legal costs of defending the law.
The NCAA this week joined a growing boycott of the state, following the NBA’s decision to move its All Star Game out of the state.
A statement said: “Based on the NCAA’s commitment to fairness and inclusion, the Association will relocate all seven previously awarded championship events from North Carolina during the 2016-17 academic year. The NCAA Board of Governors made this decision because of the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.”
The board “emphasised that NCAA championships and events must promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans.”
The following events will be moved out of 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/second rounds (Greensboro), March 17 and 19.
2017 Division I Women’s Golf Championships, regional (Greenville), May 8-10.
2017 Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships (Cary), May 22-27.
2017 Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship (Cary), May 26 and 28.
2017 Division II Baseball Championship (Cary), May 27-June 3.
“The NCAA Constitution clearly states our values of inclusion and gender equity, along with the membership’s expectation that we as the Board of Governors protect those values for all,” said Susquehanna University President Jay Lemons, vice chair of the Board of Governors and chair of the ad hoc committee on diversity and inclusion.
“Our membership comprises many different types of schools – public, private, secular, faith-based – and we believe this action appropriately reflects the collective will of that diverse group.”
“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA president.
“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.”
Hillary Clinton tweeted: “The @NCAA is right to pull tournament games from North Carolina because of the anti-LGBT HB2 law. Discrimination has no place in America. -H”
Donald Trump has previously expressed his support for McCrory on the issue.