Last week, the NCAA and the ACC, both announced their decisions to remove all championships from North Carolina due to discriminatory laws against LGBTQA+ individuals.
The NCAA is a major nonprofit college athletics organization, and the ACC is a collegiate athletic conference made up of 15 teams.
This decision came approximately six months after the passage of North Carolina’s “Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act,” formally known as “An Act to Provide for Single-sex Multiple Occupancy Bathroom and Changing Facilities in Schools and Public Agencies and to Create Statewide Consistency in Regulation of Employment and Public Accommodations,” or informally as House Bill 2 (HB2).
The law is most famous for its measures that mandate individuals must use bathrooms or changing facilities in government buildings matching the gender on their birth certificate. However, it also overrides any local legislation providing anti-discrimination protection for LGBTQA+ individuals. Furthermore, it makes it illegal for localities to expand upon state anti-discrimination laws in other areas, such as minimum wage or child labor laws.
The law is extremely controversial, and many feel it discriminates against LGBTQA+ people.
“I personally believe that the law in North Carolina is vastly immoral and discriminates against people who identify as a different gender from their [biological] sex,” Gideon Epstein, a freshman government and politics major, said. “And that’s something we need to accept in the 21st century; we can’t live in the past.”
The NCAA and ACC announced their decisions on Sept. 12 and Sept.14, respectively, to remove championship games from sites in North Carolina. This affects 15 championship events, including six first and second round games of the Division I Men’s Basketball championships.
The ACC made the specific decision to remove only championships from neutral sites, so championships held at Duke University, the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State and Wake Forest University will remain.
These decisions follow the NBA’s decision in July to move the All-Star game from Charlotte, North Carolina.
Freshman computer science major Tyler Andrews supports the decisions by the NCAA and ACC.
“I think that all of us should strive to make LGBTQ people feel welcome in all communities in which they wish to be involved,” he said.
This closely mirrors a statement from Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA.
“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,” Emmert said.
The NBA, NCAA and ACC’s decisions will all have economic ramifications on North Carolina. Revenue from tourists visiting the state to watch the various championship games will be lost, affecting hotels, restaurants, shopping and more.
The NCAA and ACC hope their decision to move championship games out of North Carolina will put pressure on state politicians to reconsider that law.
“They’re hoping that maybe their constituents are up in arms over the impact that they feel more strongly than their politicians who enacted the law do,” Andrews said.
But, as shown by the NBA’s move a few months prior, this isn’t the first time major events have been taken out of North Carolina in protest of the law, and it doesn’t seem as if politicians are budging.
“This decision is so absurd it’s almost comical,” said Kami Mueller, spokeswoman of the North Carolina Republican Party in a statement.
Sophomore finance major Matthew Murphy doesn’t see how this decision will have a major impact.
“People who are on the fence would probably rethink it [the law] because of the local ramifications,” Murphy said. “However, I think it’s just fueling the fire instead of dealing with things like adults.”
Others feel the law passes the line of simple negotiation, and that it is necessary for the NCAA and ACC to take drastic measures.
“It definitely shows the NCAA has a strong stance on supporting LGBT rights and equality,” Epstein said. “It shows they’re not going to stand for the kind of bigotry that House Bill 2 exhibits.”
Featured Photo Credit: Featured photo courtesy of Flickr user Tom Woodward.
Katrina Schmidt is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.