The NCAA Monday announced it is moving the 2016-17 championship events from North Carolina because of state actions on civil rights protections for gay and transgender individuals.
The NCAA Board of Governors said current North Carolina state laws make it difficult to guarantee an “inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans.”
“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA president. “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 NCAA cited North Carolina laws on sexual orientation and restrictions on restroom use by transgender individuals, as well as bans on travel to North Carolina by New York, Minnesota, Washington, Vermont and Connecticut for public employees and representatives of public institutions.
“This decision is consistent with the NCAA's long-standing core values of inclusion, student-athlete well-being and creating a culture of fairness,” said G.P. “Bud” Peterson, chairman of the NCAA Board of Governors and president of the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The decision will affect Division I women’s soccer (Dec. 2 and 4), Division III men’s and women’s soccer (Dec. 2-3), Division I first and second rounds men’s basketball (March 17 and 19), Division I women’s golf (May 8-10), Division III men’s and women’s tennis (May 22-27), Division I women’s lacrosse (May 26 and 28) and Division II men’s baseball (May 27-June 3).
North Carolina isn’t the only state losing NCAA events. The organization also bans events in states that display the Confederate battle flag as well as at schools that “use hostile and abusive Native American imagery.”
The only events that will be hosted in North Carolina this academic year are those decided “when student-athletes earn the opportunity to play a championship on their own campus.”
Earlier, a number of celebrities announced they would no longer perform in North Carolina in response to the state’s restrictions on restroom use by transgender individuals, including Ciara and Russell Wilson, who canceled their wedding. Other celebrities canceled concerts, including Ringo Starr, the Dixie Chicks and Bruce Springsteen.