NCAA Moves Seven Championships From North Carolina Over “Civil Rights Protections”

Posted on: September 13, 2016, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: September 13, 2016, 01:16h.

NCAA North Carolina bathroom law Mark Emmert
North Carolina’s position on bathrooms has flushed seven NCAA national championship events out of the state. NCAA President Mark Emmert says the competitions will be moved to more “respectful” environments. (Image: LM Otero/Associated Press)

The NCAA is moving seven national championship events from North Carolina due to the state’s law that mandates persons use public restroom facilities that correspond with the sex that’s listed on their birth certificates.

North Carolina’s House Bill 2, commonly known as the “Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act,” was passed in the state legislature in March. The statute prohibits gay, bisexual, transgender, genderqueer, and intersex people from using the gender bathroom they most closely identify with.

The law has been highly controversial. The Department of Justice sued North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (R) in May on grounds that HB2 violates multiple federal laws including the Civil Rights Act.

“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement. “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.”

Hosting national championships is big business for state and local economies. The sporting contests can also boost revenues at casinos.

Glendale, Arizona, estimated its hosting of the NCAA College Football National Championship in January generated an economic impact of $300 million and 60,000 hotel visitor room nights. The Desert Diamond West Valley Casino opened just weeks before the big game to take advantage of the influx of tourists to the Phoenix area.

Substantial Impact

Though none of the canceled events carry the marquee of hosting the NCAA College Football Playoff National Championship, the financial loss is still considerable.

The seven NCAA championship events moving are:

Cary, NC

2016 Division I Women’s Soccer Championship

2017 Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships

2017 Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship

2017 Division II Baseball Championship

Greensboro, NC

2016 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, first/second rounds

2016 Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships

Greenville, NC

2017 Division I Women’s Golf Championship

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper says it’s time to repeal HB 2. “Enough is enough,” Cooper said in statement. “We need to repeal this law and get our state back on track.

But North Carolina Republic Party spokeswoman Kami Mueller said the NCAA’s outrage is hypocritical and unwarranted.

“I genuinely look forward to the NCAA merging all men’s and women’s teams together as singular, unified, unisex teams,” Mueller said. “If you are unwilling to have women’s bathrooms and locker rooms, how do you have a women’s team?”

NCAA’s Way or the Highway

While the NCAA certainly has every right to host its competitions wherever it sees fit, the organization does present an attitude of moral superiority that is criticized by some.

The college sports governing body is adamantly against sports betting and recently won a lawsuit against New Jersey that prevents the state from legalizing gambling on athletics. The NCAA also opposes daily fantasy sports (DFS).

DraftKings and FanDuel, the two leading DFS companies in the US, removed college contests from their platforms in March.

The NCAA is a not-for-profit organization, meaning it doesn’t pay taxes on most of its income. In 2015, the NCAA generated about $1 billion in revenue.

Players have advocated for some sort of compensation in recent years, but to date the NCAA has won those lawsuits as well.