September 12, 2016 at 8:39 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
NCAA pulls 7 championships from N.C. over anti-LGBT law
North Carolina, gay news, Washington Blade

Seven NCAA games were pulled from N.C. as result of the anti-LGBT law. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Seven collegiate championships previously awarded to North Carolina are now pulled as a result of the anti-LGBT law the state enacted earlier this year, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced Monday.

Mark Emmert, NCAA president, said in statement the board of directors decided to move the previously scheduled events out of North Carolina because NCAA events must promote an inclusive atmosphere for college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans.

“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships,” 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 NCCA cites as the reason for pulling the events House Bill 2, which nullified city pro-LGBT non-discrimination ordinances in the state, including one recently enacted in Charlotte, and prohibits transgender people from using the restroom. Also cited are the five states and other cities that have put in place bans on state-sponsored travel to North Carolina as result of the law.

The seven championship events relocated from North Carolina were for the 2016-17 season:

* 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.

“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,” said Susquehanna University president and vice chair of the NCAA board of governors Jay Lemons. “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.”

The NCAA decision is the latest in a string of decisions from businesses that have cancelled expansions in North Carolina and performers that have nixed events in the state. The National Basketball Association pulled the All-Star Games from the state as a result of the anti-LGBT law.

Nonetheless, state officials have been intransigent in their support for HB2. At the Values Voter Summit in D.C. on Friday, North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who called the special session that passed the law, promoted the measure as “common sense in America.”

The Washington Blade has placed a call in with the office of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory seeking comment. As the Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel notes, the NCAA made the decision at the same time the governor was attending a fundraiser in D.C. that cost at least $1,000 to attend.

A spokesperson for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper, who has pledged to repeal HB2 and supports LGBT non-discrimination protections, chided McCrory for the loss of the games.

“It seems that almost every day, we learn of a new consequence of HB2,” said Cooper spokesperson Ford Porter. “Hosting NCAA championship events has long been a point of pride for North Carolina. These tournaments pump money into our economy and give our communities and fans a chance to showcase our incredible tradition of college sports. Now, our ability to host these events at the highest level has been eliminated because of Gov. McCrory and HB2. Enough – We need to repeal this law and get our state back on track.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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