NCAA announces it is pulling championships from North Carolina over anti-LGBT laws

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA has announced it will be pulling seven championship events from North Carolina for the 2016-2017 seasons over the state’s noninclusive laws regarding the LGBT community, the organization announced on its website.

According to the NCAA, the decision was made based on four specific factors:

  • 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 and 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 decision to pull the championship games out of North Carolina was announced Monday.

“The Board of Governors emphasized that NCAA championships and events must promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans,” the announcement said.

“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said. “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 following championship events will be relocated from North Carolina for 2016-2017: 

  • 2016 Division I Women's Soccer Championship, College Cup (Cary), Dec. 2 and 4.
  • 2016 Division III Men's and Women's Soccer Championships (Greensboro), Dec. 2 and 3.
  • 2017 Division I Men's Basketball Championship, first/second rounds (Greensboro), March 17 and 19.
  • 2017 Division I Women's Golf Championships, regional (Greenville), May 8-10.
  • 2017 Division III Men's and Women's Tennis Championships (Cary), May 22-27.
  • 2017 Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship (Cary), May 26 and 28.
  • 2017 Division II Baseball Championship (Cary), May 27-June 3.

Emmert said the NCAA will determine the new locations for these championships soon.

The decision is in line with the spirit of the NCAA, board of governors vice chair and Susquehanna University president Jay Lemons said.

“The NCAA Constitution clearly states our values of inclusion and gender equity, along with the membership’s expectation that we as the Board of Governors protect those values for all,” he said. “Our membership comprises many different types of schools -- public, private, secular, faith-based -- and we believe this action appropriately reflects the collective will of that diverse group.”

Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford released a statement following the NCAA’s decision, saying it was just another black eye for the state following the passage of controversial House Bill 2.

“The decision by the NCAA Board of Governors to relocate all current, and not award any future, NCAA Championship sites in the state of North Carolina continues to build upon the negative impact this bill has already had on the state,” he said.

Swofford ended his statement by personally decrying the bill.

“On a personal note, it’s time for this bill to be repealed, as it’s counter to basic human rights.”