The N.C.A.A. announced on September 12 that it is relocating all championship tournament games that were originally scheduled to take place in North Carolina over the 2016-2017 academic year. This news comes in reaction to a new North Carolina law, commonly referred to as House Bill 2, which nullified local government ordinances extending anti-discrimination protections for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and has gained national attention for its requirement that people in publicly owned buildings only use bathrooms that correspond with the gender on their birth certificate. Included among the events that will be moved is the N.C.A.A. Division I men’s basketball tournament, the organization’s most prominent event. North Carolina has hosted more men’s basketball tournament games than any other state, and basketball, especially college basketball, is central to the state’s culture and pride. This blow to North Carolina is made harsher by the fact that the N.C.A.A.’s decision is on the heels of the N.B.A.’s July decision to move its 2017 All-Star Game out of the state as well.
In support of its decision, the N.C.A.A.’s president, Mark Emmert, stated that, “Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships. We believe in providing a safe and respectful environment at our events.”
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Jennifer Marr is an Entertainment and Sports Highlight Contributor for the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and a current second year student at Harvard Law School (Class of 2018).