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NEW YORK (Sept. 12) – Tonight, the NCAA issued a statement explaining it will move all seven 2016-2017 championship events from North Carolina. Citing the dangers student-athletes and administrators would face in the state, this historical decision marks the first time the NCAA has moved events in response to North Carolina’s anti-LGBT legislation, known as HB2.
HB2 was adopted by the North Carolina legislature in March 2016. The law stripped away LGBT nondiscrimination laws enacted in more than a dozen of the state’s cities. It also placed tight restrictions on bathroom access for transgender people.
Due to the new law, the NCAA created new anti-discrimination requirements in its bidding process to ensure venues hosting NCAA events were safe and welcoming to LGBT people. In response, Athlete Ally authored a sign-on letter joined by more than 40 other nonprofit organizations, commending the NCAA for its inclusion efforts and providing recommendations on how best to create and implement the new guidelines.
The NCAA cited four major reasons why North Carolina’s climate is uniquely harmful to the LGBT community. Stating the values of the organization, NCAA president Mark Emmert said, “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 and are committed to providing the best experience possible for college athletes, fans and everyone taking part in our championships”.
“The NCAA’s decision to move its championship games out of North Carolina is groundbreaking and sets an example for every other sporting body to follow,” said Athlete Ally’s Founder and Executive Director, Hudson Taylor. “If athletic communities believe in the principles of respect and equal treatment for their LGBT fans, athletes and administrators, then championship events should only be awarded to those states and cities that reflect those values.”
The historic decision follows in the wake of the NBA’s decision this past July to move the NBA All-Star game from North Carolina due to the same law. The NBA’s decision will cost the state more than $100 million in estimated revenue.
Spearheading Athlete Ally’s work with the NCAA, Athlete Ally’s Director of Policy and Campaigns Ashland Johnson said, “What we’re seeing is a clear shift in the sports and social justice landscape, especially when it comes to LGBT equality and protecting players, coaches and fans. Powerhouse sports institutions like the NBA and NCAA are sending a message that equality on the field of play, and in the stands, requires equality under the law. Their historic and courageous actions are game-changers.”
You can view a list of the revoked championships and the NCAA’s statements here.
Athlete Ally is a non-profit organization that educates and activates athletic communities to champion LGBT equality. Athlete Ally works with MLB, MLS, the NBA, WNBA, and NBPA on player development and LGBT inclusion. It also co-wrote Champions of Respect, the NCAA’s guide on LGBT policies and best practices. Athlete Ally also partners with over 150 professional athletes and college campuses to promote LGBT respect and inclusion.
Director of Policy and Campaigns