The NCAA pulled championships from the state in August 2016, months after HB2 was passed by the legislature in a special session and signed into law by then-Gov. After the NCAA demanded that North Carolina repeal HB2 in March, North Carolina made a compromise by instilling HB142.
No NCAA tournament games are being held in North Carolina this season due to ‘bathroom bill’.
Previously, the NCAA had essentially blacklisted North Carolina through 2022 as a potential host site for championships because of HB 2, a law that restricted transgender bathroom access and overturned local nondiscrimination ordinances that extended protections to the LGBTQ community.
However, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper commended the NCAA for its decision.
The collegiate basketball association released a statement on Tuesday to say it has reversed its ban on the Tar Heel State, but added that NCAA officials are not quite ecstatic over the repeal, either. HB 142 also says that local governments can not pass ordinances protecting LGBT people – or anyone else – from discrimination in employment or public places until 2020.
Though the NCAA has pledged anti-discrimination protections, LGBTQ advocates are concerned that the NCAA has taken a step back from defending the community by giving North Carolina a fair shot at championship bids again. It also forbade local governments from expanding upon state anti-discrimination laws and criteria.
“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'”. “HB142 continues the same discriminatory scheme put forward by HB2 and does little to protect the NCAA’s players, employees, and fans”.
The NCAA has shown before that it will occasionally stand up for human rights if a law or display is so egregious that anyone can see that it’s discrimination.
Last year’s game was scheduled for Charlotte, but the law forced the ACC to move the game to Orlando, Fla., a move the conference has said will not be repeated this year as the championship game returns to North Carolina’s largest city.
In testimony before the state Senate previous year, North Carolina Family Policy Council President John Rustin said that the Charlotte ordinance meant that “men could enter women’s restrooms and locker rooms – placing the privacy, safety, and dignity of women and the elderly at great risk”.
While all indications are the NCAA and ACC looked favorably upon the compromise, neither NCAA President Mark Emmert nor ACC Commissioner John Swofford was willing to come out and say that Thursday.
“I don’t know why any of these people thought they could use the exact secret process and incompetence that got them into this problem to get them out of this problem”, Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in an interview Friday.
At this point we aren’t convinced that most North Carolinians understand what House Bill 2 did before last week’s “reset”, or what House Bill 142, the new legislation, actually accomplishes. “The question the board will be debating is, if you remove two or three of them, is that enough relative to other states?”