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NCAA 'Reluctantly' Ends North Carolina Boycott

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Copyright 2017 Dayton Newspapers, Inc.

Dayton Daily News (Ohio)

 

GLENDALE, ARIZ. - The NCAA on Tuesday "reluctantly" lifted its ban on holding championship events in North Carolina, removing its 6-month-old prohibition less than a week after the state's Legislature and governor repealed a so-called bathroom bill that had led to boycotts of the state.

The organization, which governs college athletics, said in a statement that the law's replacement in North Carolina had "minimally achieved a situation where we believe NCAA championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment."

The earlier law, known as HB2, had removed anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender people, and it required transgender people to use bathrooms in public facilities that aligned with their sex at birth. The replacement bill bars local governments from passing their own ordinances on LGBT rights and leaves regulation of bathrooms up to the state Legislature.

The NCAA's carefully worded statement left the door open to making decisions on a case-by-case basis and even to retracting hosting opportunities on short notice in light of new developments - as it did last year, when it moved several championship events, including men's basketball tournament games, out of the state.

At the same time, by providing a clearer blueprint of what is not and, now, is acceptable, the NCAA gave comfort not only to North Carolina lawmakers but to those in other states considering restrictions similar to those in North Carolina's new law. In Texas, where next year's Final Four is set to be held in San Antonio, the author of a proposal known as the Texas Privacy Act cheered the NCAA's decision.

"I applaud the NCAA for now agreeing that there is nothing discriminatory about the Texas Privacy Act," its author, GOP state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, said in a statement, "or our honest efforts to address the serious issue of privacy and safety in our public facilities and school showers, locker rooms and restrooms."

While advocates on both sides have described North Carolina's compromise as insufficient, the state's business community, which opposed HB2 on pragmatic grounds, saw the NCAA's decision as a vindication.

"We're grateful to see that the NCAA has renewed its faith in North Carolina and the Charlotte region once again," Tom Murray, chief executive of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, said.

The two sides that struck the deal last week were motivated in no small part by a desire to placate the NCAA, in a state where college sports are culturally vital and where the flagship university's men's basketball team won its sixth national championship Monday night. Both sides welcomed the NCAA's decision.

"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,'" state Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, both Republicans, said in a statement.

Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said in his own statement that, while "more work remains to be done," the NCAA decision was "good news."

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April 5, 2017
 
 
 

 

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