WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A night after its flagship university won the NCAA men’s basketball championship, the state of North Carolina found out championship events will return to the Tar Heel State.
The NCAA said in a news release this morning that considering last week’s compromise by the General Assembly and Gov. Roy Cooper to backtrack on HB2, “a majority on the NCAA Board of Governors reluctantly voted to allow consideration of championship bids in North Carolina by our committees that are presently meeting.”
That means NCAA championships previously awarded to North Carolina for 2017-18 will remain in the state.
In its statement, the NCAA said HB142, which rolled back HB2 restrictions, is “far from perfect.”
“The NCAA did not lobby for any specific change in the law,” the organization’s statement read. “The Board of Governors, however, was hopeful that the state would fully repeal HB2 in order to allow the host communities to ensure a safe, healthy, discrimination-free atmosphere for the championship sites. While the new law meets the minimal NCAA requirements, the board remains concerned that some may perceive North Carolina’s moratorium against affording opportunities for communities to extend basic civil rights as a signal that discriminatory behavior is permitted and acceptable, which is inconsistent with the NCAA Bylaws.”
In deciding to resume championship events in North Carolina, the NCAA said it recognized “the quality championships hosted by the people of North Carolina in years before HB2. And this new law restores the state to that legal landscape: a landscape similar to other jurisdictions presently hosting NCAA championships.”
The NCAA says North Carolina’s “new law has minimally achieved a situation where we believe NCAA championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment. 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.”
“We are pleased with the NCAA’s decision and acknowledgment that our compromise legislation ‘restores the state to… a landscape similar to other jurisdictions presently hosting NCAA championships,'” North Carolina Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said in a joint statement.
The NCAA board is requiring any site awarded a championship event in North Carolina or elsewhere submit additional documentation demonstrating how student-athletes and fans will be protected from discrimination.
Last year the NCAA decided to move several championship events during the current academic year from North Carolina because of HB2. The ACC soon followed suit. Last week after the HB2 repeal, the conference, which is headquartered in North Carolina, said it would against consider the state as host for its championships. In February, the Colonial Athletic Association, of which UNCW is a member, decided to move its women’s golf championship this spring out of Brunswick County because of the so-called “bathroom bill.”