NCAA: North Carolina can host events after law change

The repeal of the "bathroom bill" has "minimally achieved" a nondiscriminatory environment, according to the NCAA's statement.

The NCAA's statement said that North Carolina will be allowed to keep previously awarded championships in the 2017-2018 season.

The NCAA pulled its championship games from North Carolina last August because it was concerned about the "cumulative impact" HB 2 had on the state's ability to provide a "safe, healthy, discrimination-free atmosphere" for participants and viewers. Among them was the NCAA, which refused to let North Carolina host its championship games.

The law excluded gender identity and sexual orientation from statewide antidiscrimination protections, and required transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in public buildings.

Over the course of a year, amid a heated presidential and gubernatorial election campaign, pressure mounted on North Carolina officials to repeal or modify HB2.

The HB2 repeal bill agreed upon by North Carolina congressmen, and signed by the state's Democratic governor, not only repealed HB2, but also put a moratorium on equal protection ordinances throughout the state until 2020 and also put the kabosh on any cities enacting bathroom protections for trans people indefinitely, leaving the matter up to the state. Coach Roy Williams had opposed HB 2, which prompted the NCAA to move two rounds of the Division I men's tournament out of hoops-crazed North Carolina.

Asked about the NCAA's lukewarm statement, Cooper said NCAA leaders still "recognized the progress in this legislation and they recognized that even though it wasn't everything they wanted, that it was enough for them to come back and to join us in the fight to help to continue to improve our laws so people can be protected from discrimination".

The new law, House Bill 142, prohibits municipalities, state agencies and the University of North Carolina from the "regulation of access" to bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the legislature's permission.

It's hard to celebrate fending off disaster with the NCAA when North Carolina remains one of the least welcoming and inclusive states in the nation. "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 LGBTQ protections, to remain effective".

The NCAA said the new law "meets the minimal NCAA requirements" while expressing some concerns about provisions within it.

"The fact that the board only identified one state that it didn't want to go to, while recognizing there were 49 other states with various degrees of support or restrictions around LGBT rights and other civil rights issues, it certainly meant that they saw North Carolina as distinctive", Emmert said on Thursday.

"This proposal is a train wreck that would double down on anti-LGBTQ discrimination", said activist Chris Sgro in a statement published by USA Today. The LGBT advocacy group said the NCAA backtracked on its promise to protect players, employees and fans.

The NCAA decision to restore games to North Carolina comes to the dismay of LGBT rights supporters.

  • Annette Adams