College events pulled from North Carolina due to LGBT law

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) " The National Collegiate Athletic Association has pulled seven college championship events from North Carolina, including opening-round games in the annual NCAA men's basketball tournament, due to a state law that some say can lead to discrimination against LGBT people.

In a news release Monday, the NCAA says the decision by its board of governors came "because of the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections."

"This decision is consistent with the NCAA's long-standing core values of inclusion, student-athlete well-being and creating a culture of fairness," said G.P. "Bud" Peterson, the president of Georgia Tech University and chair of the NCAA board of governors.

The law " known as HB2 " requires transgender people to use restrooms at schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. It also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from local and statewide antidiscrimination protections.

HB2 was signed into law by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory earlier this year. A spokesman with McCrory's office couldn't immediately be reached for comment Monday evening, but a spokeswoman with the state Republican party blasted the decision in statement, saying it is "so absurd it's almost comical."

The only college championship events that can be hosted in North Carolina this academic year are ones determined when a team earns the right to play on their own campus.

The NCAA said it will relocate the men's NCAA basketball first- and second-round games that were scheduled for March 17 and 19 in Greensboro. The NCAA will also relocate:

" the Division I women's soccer championship scheduled for Dec. 2 and 4 in Cary, just outside the capital city of Raleigh;

" the Division III men's and women's soccer championships set for Dec. 2 and 3 in Greensboro;

" the Division I women's golf regional championships set for May 8-10 in Greenville;

" the Division III men's and women's tennis championships set for May 22-27 in Cary;

" the Division I women's lacrosse championship set for May 26 and 28 in Cary;

" and the Division II baseball championship from May 27 to June 3 in Cary.

Monday's action by the NCAA is the latest backlash that has arisen since the law was enacted. The NBA moved its 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans instead of hosting it in Charlotte because of the law. Entertainers like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Ringo Starr have also canceled plans to play in North Carolina. And PayPal reversed plans to open a 400-employee operation center in Charlotte.

The campaign spokesman for Democrat Roy Cooper, the state's attorney general and McCrory's re-election opponent in November, said the controversial state law needs to be repealed.

"It seems that almost every day, we learn of a new consequence of HB2," spokesman Ford Porter said. "... We need to repeal this law and get our state back on track."

The NCAA's move leaves the Atlantic Coast Conference football championship game in Charlotte as the marquee college sporting event in the state this year. However, that event also could be in jeopardy. In May, the ACC announced that member schools discussed the law during their annual spring meetings and said it could impact whether the state hosts league championship events.

In April, the NCAA announced it was adopting an anti-discrimination measure that would affect the way the governing body evaluates bids to host sporting events and required sites to "demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination."

In a statement Monday, NCAA President Mark Emmert said the governing body will delay announcements on future championship sites until early next year. That comes as it reviews responses to questionnaires required of prospective site hosts on how they would comply with the NCAA's anti-discrimination measure.

In announcing its decision Monday, the NCAA stated current North Carolina laws "make it challenging to guarantee that host communities can help deliver" on that requirement.

The NCAA pointed out that five states " Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington " and several cities prohibited travel by public employees and representatives of public institutions to North Carolina following the passage of HB2. Those representatives could include athletes, coaches and athletic administrators.


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This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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