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North Carolina is back in the NCAA's good graces -- after the state repealed its controversial HB2 law last month -- and will again host championship events.
Greensboro will host the first and second rounds of the NCAA men's basketball tournament in 2020, and Raleigh will host the first and second rounds in 2021. (Charlotte remains scheduled to host in 2018, though that had been previously determined.)
Though the legislation passed to replace HB2 has been criticized for still failing to protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination, NCAA President Mark Emmert signaled that the governing body could consider it changed enough that the NCAA could dip its toes back into a state that often hosts championship events in various sports.
"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 last month at his annual state of the union address at the men's Final Four.
"And the question that's going to be before them: Is it now still so distinctive that we don't want to go there? Or is it close enough to where everybody else is in the country that it makes sense to be there?"
Apparently, the NCAA Board of Governors found answers to these questions.
Tuesday's announcement of host sites through 2022 included Divisions I, II and III. North Carolina will host a total of 23 events -- 10 in Division I, five in Division II and eight in Division III.
Seven NCAA championship events were pulled from the state during the 2016-17 academic year because of HB2.
The most high-profile pull was Greensboro, which was set to host the first and second rounds of the men's NCAA tournament. Those games were moved to Greenville, S.C.
In other host site news:
Dayton, Ohio, will continue to host the First Four through at least 2022. It has served as the site for the start of the NCAA tournament every year since 2001.
South Carolina, which is allowed to host NCAA events since the confederate flag is no longer flown at the statehouse, earned a pair of first- and second-round games -- in Columbia in 2019 and in Greenville in 2022.
Regional sites for 2019: Kansas City, Mo.; Louisville; Anaheim, Calif., and Washington, D.C.
Regional sites for 2020: Los Angeles, Indianapolis, Houston and New York
Regional sites for 2021: Brooklyn, Memphis, Minneapolis and Denver
Regional sites for 2022: Philadelphia, Chicago, San Antonio and San Francisco
The previously announced Final Four host sites, for reference: San Antonio (2018), Minneapolis (2019), Atlanta (2020), Indianapolis (2021) and New Orleans (2022).
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