NCAA drops NC boycott over bathroom bill

NCAA drops NC boycott over bathroom bill
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The NCAA is dropping its boycott of sites in North Carolina after the state legislature replaced a controversial measure regulating transgender access to bathroom and locker room facilities.

In a statement Tuesday morning, the NCAA Board of Governors said the compromise agreed to late last week between legislative Republicans and Gov. Roy Cooper (D) would allow them to operate according to their own internal policies governing inclusion and LGBT rights.

The NCAA, the collegiate Atlantic Coast Conference and other sports leagues pulled several events out of North Carolina after the legislature passed House Bill 2, a measure that regulated local ordinances governing access to bathrooms and locker rooms for transgender people. The NBA relocated this year’s all star game, which had been scheduled for Charlotte, to New Orleans.

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Several companies and businesses, too, opted to cancel planned expansions or moves to North Carolina, citing the measure. An Associated Press analysis last month showed North Carolina had lost more than $3.7 billion in economic activity related to the bill.

After months of fruitless negotiation in Raleigh, the NCAA told legislators and Cooper they had just days to roll back the bill before various subsidiary committees chose championship locations for the next several years. If the legislature did not roll back H.B. 2, North Carolina would be ineligible for those events.

Both Roy Williams, the coach of the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team, and Mike Krzyzewski, the men's basketball coach at Duke University in Durham, N.C., urged state legislators to cancel the ordinance. That pressure helped push negotiations over the final hurdles, and Cooper, state Senate President Phil Berger (R) and state House Speaker Tim Moore (R) announced a last-minute deal last week.

The NCAA said the agreement met their standards.

“In the end, a majority on the NCAA Board of Governors reluctantly voted to allow consideration of championship bids in North Carolina by our committees that are presently meeting,” the NCAA said. Events already scheduled for the 2017–2018 school year will continue as planned.

The NCAA said sites bidding for future championships will have to submit new documentation that shows steps taken to prevent discrimination.

LGBT rights groups assailed the replacement bill, which will still prevent localities from enacting new anti-discrimination ordinances for several years. On Tuesday, those groups were quick to condemn the NCAA’s decision to return to North Carolina.

“The NCAA’s decision to backtrack on their vow to protect LGBTQ players, employees and fans is deeply disappointing and puts people at risk,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “After drawing a line in the sand and calling for repeal of HB2, the NCAA simply let North Carolina lawmakers off the hook.”