The NCAA has announced it will relocate seven previously awarded championship events from North Carolina during the 2016–2017 academic year. The NCAA Board of Governors made the decision “because of the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections,” according to a statement by the NCAA. No immediate timeline was set for announcing replacement cities.
In its decision Monday, the Board of Governors emphasized that NCAA championships and events must promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans. “Current North Carolina state laws make it challenging to guarantee that host communities can help deliver on that commitment if NCAA events remained in the state,” the NCAA’s statement said.
“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “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.”
In its decision, the board noted that unlike issues that may arise in other states, North Carolina laws invalidate any local law that treats sexual orientation as a protected class or has a purpose to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals; the state has the only statewide law that makes it unlawful to use a restroom different from the gender on one’s birth certificate, regardless of gender identity; and North Carolina law provides legal protections for government officials to refuse services to the LGBT community.
The board also noted that five states— New York, Minnesota, Washington, Vermont and Connecticut—plus numerous cities prohibit travel to North Carolina for public employees and representatives of public institutions, which could include student-athletes and campus athletics staff.
The seven championship events that will be relocated from North Carolina are:
The 2016 Division I Women’s Soccer Championship, College Cup (Cary), December 2 and 4.
The 2016 Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships (Greensboro), December 2–3.
The 2017 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, first/second rounds (Greensboro), March 17 and 19.
The 2017 Division I Women’s Golf Championships, regional (Greenville), May 8–10.
The 2017 Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships (Cary), May 22-27.
The 2017 Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship (Cary), May 26 and 28.
The 2017 Division II Baseball Championship (Cary), May 27–June 3.
Championships where student-athletes earn the opportunity to play on their own campus will still be allowed under the measures adopted by the board.