My family attends the NCAA basketball regional games every year. In the past we have attended in both Raleigh and Charlotte. This year we are in Tulsa, Okla. The games are held over three days and attended by over 16,000 people from all over the country. We always have a great time talking to people about basketball and the city, seeing the local sites and buying food and souvenirs.
To think that my family will not be coming back to North Carolina to see NCAA basketball for the foreseeable future is very sad. I always liked talking about North Carolina with visitors.
It is not just about the economic impact from not having the events, but the visibility that the state is losing from all the teams and their fans from places like California, Michigan and Pennsylvania not visiting that hurts our state’s image.
In Tulsa, I have talked to people who have been to NCAA games in North Carolina, and it is uncomfortable hearing people who now think about us as just bathrooms and birth certificates. Is that really the image we want people to have of North Carolina?