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NCAA lifts ban on North Carolina despite state barring anti-LGBT discrimination laws

Josh Jackman April 4, 2017

Following the repeal of North Carolina’s bathroom law – which also banned local authorities from outlawing anti-LGBT discrimination – the NCAA has lifted its ban on the state.

Announced by Majority Republican leaders Tim Moore and Phil Berger and Democratic Governor Roy Cooper as a “compromise,” HB142 outraged LGBT leaders.

Equality NC executive director Chris Sgro said it was a “fake repeal,” while Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin called the law a “disaster” which “doubles down on discrimination”.

But despite the backlash, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which makes about $1 billion a year in revenue, said its board of governors had “reluctantly” overturned its prohibition.

Bids from the state to hold the NCAA Championship will now be considered again, and the championships previously awarded to North Carolina for next season will take place.

Even though HB142 allows for discrimination to legally exist, the NCAA said it had “minimally achieved a situation where we believe NCAA championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment.”

The organisation admitted that “this new law is far from perfect,” adding that it was still worried about the state of LGBT rights in North Carolina.

It said that “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 behaviour is permitted and acceptable, which is inconsistent with the NCAA Bylaws.”

The NCAA also attempted to soften the blow to LGBT activists by warning that any state awarded an event in future will have to show “how student-athletes and fans will be protected from discrimination.”

The organisation had pulled seven events from the state over the past year while HB2 was in place, joining many companies, music stars and sports organisations in boycotting North Carolina.

Earlier today, major city mayors reiterated travel bans to North Carolina.

And yesterday, the last Kennedy in Congress, Representative Joseph Kennedy III, urged the NCAA to maintain its position on banning North Carolina.

LGBT leaders were predictably angered by the NCAA’s decision.

Chase Strangio, a staff attorney with the ACLU, said: “NCAA caves & gives in to discrimination. We will all suffer because of this and Roy Cooper this is on you”.

He added that the decision made it clear that “Trans people are expendable, disposable, our bodies situated as threats”.

“At the end of the day, we should have known better than to rely on corporate interests who would quickly sell us out,” he added.

Equality NC head Sgro tweeted: “Disappointed that NCAA abandons LGBT community + succumbs to NC Governor cheap political stunt that doubled down on discrimination”.

HRC president Griffin also made his outrage clear:

More: basketball, bathroom law, hb142, hb2, Law, ncaa, North Carolina, sport, US, US

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