The NCAA on Tuesday lifted its boycott of North Carolina as a destination to host championship games, less than a week after state lawmakers reached a compromise to repeal the transgender bathroom law.
“We are actively determining site selections, and this new law has minimally achieved a situation where we believe NCAA championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment,” the sports league said in a statement. “If we find that our expectations of a discrimination-free environment are not met, we will not hesitate to take necessary action at any time.”
The NCAA pulled seven championship games out of North Carolina after the enactment of HB2, which regulated public restrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities on the basis of biological sex.
That law was repealed by the North Carolina legislature last week, and a new bill, HB142, was signed into law by Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday. HB142 places a three-year moratorium on local ordinances regulating public accommodations.
Gay-rights groups were unhappy with the compromise and blasted the NCAA for reversing course.
“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, which spearheaded the boycott. “After drawing a line in the sand and calling for repeal of HB2, the NCAA simply let North Carolina lawmakers off the hook.”
Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, called the NCAA’s decision “disappointing.”
“HB142 continues the same discriminatory scheme put forward by HB2 and does little to protect the NCAA’s players, employees, and fans,” Mr. Sgro said in a statement. “The NCAA’s decision has put a seal of approval on state-sanctioned discrimination.”
North Carolina’s top two Republican lawmakers, Senate President Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, worked with Mr. Cooper to roll back HB2 before the NCAA determined host locations for championships from 2018 to 2022.
The collegiate sports league had given the state an ultimatum to repeal HB2 or lose out on the chance to host any championship games over that span.
“We are pleased with the NCAA’s decision and acknowledge our compromise legislation ‘restores the states to … a landscape similar to other jurisdictions presently hosting NCAA championships,’” Mr. Berger and Mr. Moore said in a joint statement.
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