College Sports

Raleigh, Greensboro win bids to host NCAA tournaments

North Carolina will again host NCAA tournament games following last month’s replacement of House Bill 2.

The NCAA announced Tuesday that Greensboro Coliseum and Raleigh’s PNC Arena would host men’s basketball tournament games and that championships in dozens of other sports would be played across the state.

A compromise last month replaced HB2 with a new state law that includes a modified version of HB2’s restrictions on local-government protections for LGBT people. Days later, the NCAA said its Board of Governors voted “reluctantly” to consider championship bids from North Carolina locations.

Charlotte, which had submitted bids to host men’s basketball tournaments for three years, was not selected. But the NCAA also said earlier this month that championships already awarded for the 2017-2018 season will remain in the state. That means Charlotte will host the first and second rounds of the men’s basketball tournament at the Spectrum Center March 16-18, 2018.

Of the 133 bids North Carolina collectively submitted, the NCAA awarded the state 26 events that include a total of 36 championships.

For first and second round men’s basketball tournament play, the NCAA selected Columbia to host in 2019, Greensboro in 2020, Raleigh in 2021 and Greenville in 2022.

South Carolina had been locked out of hosting NCAA neutral-site championships for 14 years as the Confederate flag flew on the state Capitol grounds. The flag came down in July 2015 following the massacre of nine black parishioners in Charleston, so when the NCAA pulled basketball tournaments from North Carolina this past season, the games went to Greenville.

Thirteen events awarded to Raleigh and Cary will bring in an estimated $12 million in direct visitor spending and approximately 30,000 hotel-room nights, according to Scott Dupree, executive director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance.

“Working with our valued host institutions and conferences, as well as sports commissions and cities, to create a great atmosphere for student-athletes, coaches and fans with the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments is our goal every year,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball, in a statement.

The 2020 men’s basketball games will be the first time since 2012 that tournament games have been played at the Greensboro Coliseum, the NCAA said.

UNC-Charlotte had submitted bids to host men’s first- and second-round basketball tournament games at the Spectrum Center for three years – 2020-2022.

The NCAA announced last September that it was pulling this season’s tournament games from North Carolina over the association’s opposition to HB2, which former Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law last spring. The controversial bill limited legal protections for the LGBT community, and also required transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds with the sex on their birth certificate in government-run buildings.

North Carolina venues became eligible again after Republican legislators and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, facing a reported NCAA-imposed deadline, negotiated a compromise to replace HB2.

House Bill 142 repealed HB2, including regulations on bathroom access by transgender people, but restricts local governments’ authority to create their own non-discrimination ordinances through 2020.

Here are the other N.C. sites the NCAA selected:

▪ 2019 Division I women’s basketball regional (Greensboro)

▪ 2021 Division I women’s swimming and diving championships (Greensboro)

▪ 2020 Division I women’s golf regional (Raleigh)

▪ 2020 and 2022 Division I women’s gymnastics regional (Raleigh)

▪ 2022 Division I men’s and women’s rifle championships (Raleigh)

▪ 2018 and 2020 Division I women’s College Cup soccer tournament (Cary)

▪ 2019 and 2021 Division I men’s College Cup soccer tournament (Cary)

▪ 2019 Division I women’s field hockey championships (Winston-Salem)

▪ 2019-2022 Division II men’s baseball championships (Cary)

▪ 2022 Division II men’s and women’s swimming and diving championships (Greensboro)

▪ 2018-2021 Division III men’s and women’s soccer championships (Greensboro)

▪ 2019 and 2020 Division III men’s and women’s swimming and diving championships (Greensboro)

▪ 2022 Division III men’s and women’s outdoor track and field championships (Greensboro)

▪ 2021 Division III men’s and women’s indoor track and field championships (Winston-Salem)

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer

  Comments