HB2 puts NCAA championship events at risk through 2022
House Bill 2 might cost the state the ability to host all NCAA Championship events for the next six years, according to a letter from the North Carolina Sports Association to the N.C. General Assembly.
“Our contacts at the NCAA tell us that, due to their stance on HB2, all North Carolina bids will be pulled from the review process and removed from consideration,” said Scott Dupree, executive director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, in the letter.
North Carolina cities, colleges and universities have submitted a total of 133 bids for NCAA championship events, which are to be considered by committees in the next several days.
But if the NCAA decides not to award any of these bids for the next six years, the estimated economic impact would be $250 million, according to the letter, which is dated Feb. 6.
Steve Kirschner, senior associate athletic director for communications at UNC, said the decision will have a dramatic effect on collegiate athletics in North Carolina.
"The state of North Carolina has an amazing history in conference and national championships,” he said. “To have that be taken away for up to 2022 potentially –– that would be extremely disappointing."
Kirschner said the decision will prevent teams from enjoying a competitive home-court advantage.
The threat of losing NCAA championships is the most recent economic consequence of HB2 The bill has already caused the loss of some ACC and NCAA championship events and the 2017 NBA All-Star game, and many businesses have expressed their concerns with the bill.
UNC men's basketball head coach Roy Williams has emerged as a critic of HB2. After Sunday's win against Notre Dame, Williams called the bill discriminatory and said it should be repealed.
"I'm not a lawmaker, but I know the impression that law has given other people of our state," Williams said in a press conference Tuesday. "And that's the saddest thing in the world to me."
Duke men's basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski has voiced his perspective on HB2, as well.
“I said during the start of our practice sessions in Vegas, when asked about HB2, I said it’s embarrassing, and it still is embarrassing,” Krzyzewski said in an interview with Business Insider in September.
Ezra Baeli-Wang, co-president of the UNC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and president of the ACC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, has created a petition to repeal the law by the end of the month in response to the NCAA’s statement.
"Regardless of where you stand ideologically, the fact of the matter is that the legislation isn't working, and it's doing far more harm than whatever good it might have initially intended," he said.
The petition received over 400 signatures within the first 24 hours, Baeli-Wang said.
He said the organizations are working on a video showing students standing against HB2 and an open letter to the state legislature, co-signed by the SAAC presidents of Duke and N.C. State University. Wake Forest's SAAC president is also planning to sign, he said, making all ACC member institutions in the state signatories.
Baeli-Wang said the decision is especially upsetting for North Carolina’s student-athletes.
“We will lose the opportunity, for many of us, that we earned,” he said.
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