The day after the NCAA announced it was pulling championship events out of North Carolina this academic year because of House Bill 2, many were left guessing what the further ramifications might be.
The ACC’s council of presidents meets this week and commissioner John Swofford — who spoke out Monday against the controversial law, saying it should be repealed — said the discussion would include House Bill 2 and what measures might be taken by the league. The council includes UNC chancellor Carol Folt, N.C. State chancellor Randy Woodson and Duke president Richard Brodhead.
The NBA pulled the 2017 NBA All-Star Game out of Charlotte because of HB2, a controversial law that requires people to use restrooms and locker rooms at schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. The NCAA now has acted. Could the ACC next decide to move this year’s ACC Championship football game from Charlotte, or the 2017 ACC Baseball Championship from Durham, or any of the nine other ACC championship events to be held in the state in 2016-17?
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NCAA executive director Mark Emmert, in an interview with the Associated Press, said the NCAA’s stance against a law that limits anti-discriminatory protections for the LGBT community should not pressure the ACC to follow the NCAA’s lead and pull its events out of the state. The NCAA’s action was approved by its Board of Governors, which includes college presidents.
In an interview with “CBS This Morning,” Emmert said, “Fairness and inclusion are at the heart of what the NCAA does and what universities do. For our university presidents, this was a proverbial no-brainer.”
The NCAA said Monday it would move seven events that were scheduled in North Carolina in 2016-17, including first- and second-round games of the 2017 NCAA men’s basketball tournament in Greensboro.
Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, in an interview Tuesday with Bloomberg, was critical of HB2.
“It’s embarrassing for our state and has cost our state immense money and jobs,” he said on “Bloomberg Markets.” “And even more so it’s hurt our image. What does it cost to have a great image? It takes a long time to build it up. ... I said this when we were in the Olympics: it’s embarrassing.”
Krzyzewski, who coached the U.S. team to a gold medal in the Rio Olympics, said he did not know if ACC leaders would follow the lead of the NCAA and move events but said he “hoped that they would.”
UNC president Margaret Spellings, Woodson and Brodhead have criticized the law, and the athletic directors at UNC, N.C. State and Duke all have issued statements supporting the NCAA’s decision and echo Swofford’s comments.
Duke athletic director Kevin White said, “Our position has been clear on this matter, which is that this legislation is discriminatory, troubling and embarrassing. We deplore any efforts to deprive individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, of legal protection and rights. We will always be committed to diversity and inclusion, and applaud any efforts to ensure that those values are protected and enacted at all times, and in all places in the state of North Carolina.”
I was born and bred in North Carolina, so it’s unfortunate. But there’s not a whole lot (athletes) can do about it.
Duke quarterback Daniel Jones
Blue Devils football coach David Cutcliffe, asked Tuesday about the NCAA’s decision, said, “It saddens me for the people of our state. Those are some big events that we all like, right? So you just hope that something gives along the way. But I certainly understand the concerns of the NCAA.”
UNC coach Roy Williams could not be reached Tuesday. N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried declined to comment.
Duke had to rearrange its 2016-17 basketball schedule when Albany withdrew from a scheduled game, citing HB2. Albany was responding to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order banning nonessential travel to North Carolina by public institutions.
The Vermont women’s basketball team was to play at North Carolina this season but also canceled because of HB2 concerns.
N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow said she hoped for a resolution in the “very near future.” She said NCSU “provides and promotes equal opportunity and non-discrimination who works, lives, studies, visits or participates in in campus events, courses, programs and services.”
The law, passed in March by the legislature and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, reversed a Charlotte city ordinance that protected the rights of the LBGT community.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver first urged the law be repealed or changed by 2017. The league then announced in July it was moving the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, although Hornets president Fred Whitfield told the Charlotte Observer if the HB2 situation was resolved Charlotte likely would host the 2019 All-Star Game.
Duke’s Brodhead, in April, said in a statement, “As a result of this law, North Carolina has already suffered damage to its national and international reputation as a leader in the fair treatment of its citizens.” NCSU’s Woodson in April said the bill was hurting the university attempts to recruit new businesses to Centennial Campus and in recruiting new faculty.
The ACC’s football championship game, held in Charlotte since 2010, is scheduled to be played at Bank of America Stadium through 2019.
Duke won the ACC Coastal Division in 2013 and faced Florida State in the championship game. Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, a Charlotte native, said Tuesday he attended some of the title games at the stadium.
But the NCAA’s decision, and pending decisions by the ACC, has created much uncertainty.
“Obviously it’s disappointing,” Jones said. “I was born and bred in North Carolina, so it’s unfortunate. But there’s not a whole lot (athletes) can do about it.”