On Monday evening, the NCAA announced that it would be removing seven championship events from the state of North Carolina for the 2016-2017 season because of the state's discriminatory Anti-LGBT laws. The decision covers events across Divisions I through III and includes the Women's Soccer championship as well as the first two rounds of the Men's Basketball tournament previously scheduled to be held at the Greensboro Coliseum. The NCAA further announced that the only championship events that could possibly take place in North Carolina are what they call "non-predetermined sites" which are "those that are decided when student-athletes earn the opportunity to play a championship on their own campus."
In making the decision, the NCAA noted its commitment to protecting inclusion and gender equity and determined that North Carolina's HB2 law made that impossible. The announcement specifically referenced four factors that separate North Carolina from the other 49 states of the Union.
- 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.
- North Carolina 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.
- North Carolina law provides legal protections for government officials to refuse services to the LGBT community.
- Five states 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. These states are New York, Minnesota, Washington, Vermont and Connecticut.
The NCAA doesn't often get things right, but this is one time it did, and it joins the NBA and a host of other events to pull out of the state.
As you might expect, from the political party that drafted, passed, and signed into law a bill governing who uses what bathroom, the GOP released an absolutely off-the-rails, snorted-all-the-cocaine-in-the-world statement in response. Please read these words from Kami Mueller, and know that it is a real thing a professional political operative released into the world.
There is so, so much to parse through here, but it is hilarious that the party's own spokeswoman a) does not seem to understand what the law does—it does not, for instance, prevent the hellscape of "singular, unified, unisex" bathrooms—and b) does not seem to understand her own party's line. This party, which has done its level best to destroy Roe v. Wade, to strip women of autonomy over their own bodies, is now concerned about the NCAA's supposed "assault to female athletes across the nation." All it took for them to care, apparently, was losing massive events like the NBA All-Star game and the NCAA tournament and the funds generated by those events.
In the most preposterous sentences of this or any life, the statement concludes "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 on making sure our nation's collegiate athletes are safe, both on and off the field." Let's put aside for a moment the idea of using rape victims to score a political zinger—so concerned about the assault to females!—and just bathe in the irony of a deranged spokesperson grousing about blowback to a law that literally deals with bathroom usage by going to "focus on the important stuff" well.