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Friday August 12th

NCAA pulls championships out of North Carolina because of concerns over state laws

Update (Monday 9:37 p.m.): Kami Mueller, a spokesperson for the North Carolina Republican Party, responded to the NCAA's decision on behalf of her party. 

"This is so absurd it's almost comical," she said in a statement. "I genuinely look forward to the NCAA merging all men's and women's teams together as singular, unified, unisex teams. Under the NCAA's logic, colleges should make cheerleaders and football players share bathrooms, showers and hotel rooms. This decision is an assault on female athletes across the nation. If you are unwilling to have women's bathrooms and locker rooms, how do you have a women's team? I wish the NCAA was this concerned about the women who were raped at Baylor. Perhaps the NCAA should stop with their political peacocking — and instead focus their energies in making sure our nation's collegiate athletes are safe, both on and off the field."

The NCAA has relocated all 2016-17 championship events from North Carolina because of civil rights concerns relating to HB2.

Seven events will be moved from the state, including the first and second rounds of the Division I men's basketball tournament.

The other six events are the Division I women's soccer championship, the Division III men's and women's soccer championships, the Division I women's golf regional tournament, the Division III men's and women's tennis championships, the Division I women's lacrosse championship and the Division II baseball championship.

All the events were in Cary, Greensboro or Greenville.

The decision was announced in a statement from the NCAA at 6:10 p.m.

“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA president in the statement. “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."

The announcement noted four key factors that motivated the decision to move the championships from North Carolina to other states.

The NCAA said North Carolina laws invalidated local non-discrimination ordinances that included sexual orientation and provided legal protections for government officials to refuse services to the LGBT community. Another of the NCAA's reasons was that North Carolina has the only statewide law that makes it illegal to use a restroom different from the gender on a person’s birth certificate.

The NCAA said five states — New York, Minnesota, Washington, Vermont and Connecticut — and several cities have prohibited official travel to North Carolina in response to HB2, which would inhibit participation in athletic competitions.

This isn’t the first time the NCAA has taken action in response to discriminatory legislation.

On March 26, 2015, Indiana governor Mike Pence signed a law allowing businesses to refuse services based on religious beliefs. Critics of the law feared it would allow business owners to unfairly discriminate against the LGBT community.

The day the law passed — a week before the 2015 Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis — the NCAA released a statement condemning it and implying the organization might move future championship events in the state as a result.

On April 2, 2015, Pence signed an amended version of the law that was designed to protect members of the LGBT community. The NCAA released a statement later that day praising the changes.

Some universities have already canceled events in North Carolina as a response to HB2.

In June, the State University of New York-Albany canceled field hockey games at UNC and Duke University to comply with the state of New York’s ban on state-sponsored, non-essential travel to the state of North Carolina.

On Aug. 26, the University of Vermont women’s basketball team canceled its game at UNC because of HB2.

A number of ACC Championships are scheduled to take place in North Carolina — including the football, women’s basketball and baseball tournaments. The men’s basketball tournament (March 7-11) will take place in Brooklyn as previously scheduled.

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