I’m giving a big high-five to the NCAA for their recent decision to relocate seven championship tournament games scheduled to take place in the state of North Carolina over the controversial HB2 law that critics say is discriminatory to the LGBTQ community…
In their decision, NCAA president Mark Emmert said,
“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports or even compete for championships. 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.”
Signed into law by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory earlier this year, HB2 requires transgender people to use restrooms at schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. It also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from local and statewide anti-discrimination protections. In their statement the NCAA said, “Current North Carolina state laws don’t align with its commitment to promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans.”
Following the lead of the NBA who earlier this year pulled the All-Star weekend from Charlotte, the NCAA will move the following seven games to a location to be determined:
The loss of these games will undoubtedly cost the state millions in revenue and North Carolina small businesses will certainly suffer the consequences. Hundreds of companies have already boycotted the state and I bet more will follow.
I applaud the decision by the NCAA. It is their job to not only keep student athletes safe, but also protect them from injustice and discrimination. The organization has a history of reacting to political issues. Last year they banned South Carolina from hosting a championship until the confederate flag was removed from the Statehouse grounds – which it was. Also in 2015, Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze called for the state to alter its flag because it featured the confederate symbol in one of its corners. The state has NOT removed the imagery prompting Ole Miss and many other state universities to remove the flag from their campuses in an effort to distance themselves from the divisive racial symbol.
How can a coach be expected to promote her/his school as a safe and welcoming environment to prospective African-American athletes when it displays an image that glorifies slavery?
I think the same can be applied to prospective LGBTQ athletes and the universities in North Carolina. Thankfully the ACC, which includes several NC schools, offered support to the decision saying it will consider pulling the ACC Championships from North Carolina because of the league’s “longstanding commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.” #dominoeffect
Change can be a slow process sometimes, but the NCAA and its decision to take a stand against the discriminatory HB2 bill has helped to speed it up just a little bit.