The National Collegiate Athletic Association has chosen to relocate the championship games to be played as part of the 2016 to 2017 season from North Carolina due to the state's controversial bathroom law, known as House Bill 2, the association announced today.
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"Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships," said Mark Emmert, NCAA president. "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 went on to say the state laws "invalidate any local law that treats sexual orientation as a protected class or has a purpose to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals."
“As representatives of all three divisions, the Board of Governors must advance college sports through policies that resolve core issues affecting student-athletes and administrators,” said G.P. “Bud” Peterson, Board of Governors chair and Georgia Institute of Technology president. “This decision is consistent with the NCAA's long-standing core values of inclusion, student-athlete well-being and creating a culture of fairness.”
HB2 has faced criticism since it was passed in late March. The law declares that state law overrides all local ordinances concerning wages, employment and public accommodations. It also directs all public schools, government agencies and public college campuses to require that multiple-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities, such as locker rooms, be designated for use only by people based on the "biological sex" stated on their birth certificates.
A spokeswoman for the North Carolina Republican Party blasted the news.
"This is so absurd it's almost comical," said Kami Mueller. "This decision is an assault to female athletes across the nation. If you are unwilling to have women’s bathrooms and locker rooms, how do you have a women's team? I wish the NCAA was this concerned about the women who were raped at Baylor. Perhaps the NCAA should stop with their political peacocking— and instead focus their energies on making sure our nation’s collegiate athletes are safe, both on and off the field.”
The seven championship games that will be relocated from North Carolina include:
The association has historically taken steps to ensure its championship environment is consistent with its values, it said, adding that it bans championships in states where governments display the Confederate flag or authorize sports wagering at schools that use hostile and abusive Native American imagery.
The only championship events that will be hosted in North Carolina for the 2016 to 2017 season are those decided when student-athletes earn the opportunity to play a championship on their own campus, according to the NCAA.