CBS Sports college basketball writers Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander spent July on the road talking to college coaches at multiple major NCAA-sanctioned recruiting events. In the weeks since, they've followed up with more than 110 coaches at all levels of Division I for our annual Candid Coaches series. As always, the series features a fun array of questions about college basketball, but also touches on broader issues in society. Throughout August we'll be posting the results of the poll questions posed to coaches.
The first question in our annual series is a timely one. On July 21, NBA commissioner Adam Silver made a big political and social statement by revoking Charlotte's hosting duties for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. The reason? North Carolina's HB2 Law, which is controversial because, for many, it is seen as discriminatory toward transgender people.
Silver's decision came a few months after NCAA president Mark Emmert said at this year's Final Four that the state of North Carolina could be in jeopardy of losing NCAA Tournament hosting rights if state legislature did not make changes to the law. (The NCAA has made similar decrees in Indiana, where the NCAA is headquartered.) The HB2 bill has also prompted the PGA Tour to remove an event from North Carolina, and major musical acts such as Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen have cancelled sold-out concerts in the Charlotte area in protest of the law.
In late July, the NCAA followed Silver's lead and Emmert's previous statements by posting a public memo that detailed an Aug. 12 deadline (that's this Friday) for all future NCAA Tournament sites. The deadline is tied to a questionnaire that representatives from all cities bidding for tournament hosting duties must fill out.
"These potential future bidding cities must complete a questionnaire from the NCAA by Aug. 12 detailing any local anti-discrimination laws, provisions for refusal of services and other facility-specific information," the NCAA memo states. "Currently awarded host sites will have a separate deadline, which will be determined later, to submit this same information."
This could mean North Carolina -- a state that practically annually hosts a first- or second-weekend region for the NCAAs -- could lose that role going forward if HB2 stays in place. Should it? With that in mind, we asked more than 100 coaches about it, and here are the results.
Should the NCAA refuse to host any more NCAA tournament games in North Carolina until the HB2 law is amended or eradicated?
QUOTES THAT STOOD OUT
Coaches that voted 'yes' said ...
Coaches that voted 'no' said ...
A reminder to readers of the site: We give coaches complete anonymity when answering these questions, because if we didn't most wouldn't answer these questions. This one in particular was interesting. For full transparency, about 15 percent of the coaches polled either declined answering the question altogether or had an "I don't care" opinion.
But that's not good enough.
We explicitly asked a yes or no question, so the coaches who refused to answer were not factored into the final tally. Also, North Carolina-based coaches -- head coaches, at that -- voted on both sides of this.
At this point, it's clear the law is doing more to hurt business and the economy in North Carolina than any good. The NCAA has been vocal in its stance against any state's laws that have tinges of discrimination toward any person. Given that reality, it's very possible North Carolina will lose out on hosting NCAA Tournament games going forward, lest the bill get changed.
North Carolina is right at the top, with Indiana and Kentucky, in being one of the most passionate, supportive, basketball-frenzied states the country has. We're in an era where the NCAA Tournament's opening-weekend sites aren't automatic sellouts -- except when they're placed in Greensboro, Raleigh, Charlotte, etc. So this would certainly be a huge statement by the NCAA. Some coaches are extremely skeptical this will actually go through, but to me, it seems an inevitability if the status quo doesn't change in the North Carolina state house.
It could also affect NCAA postseason play across all divisions in every sport.
Most basketball coaches don't get into political issues in a public manner, but many of them have strong, well-reasoned beliefs -- on both sides of many topics. This one brought out good conversations. A lot of sports fans angrily knee-jerk to any type of politics seeping into the sports world, but the reality is sports is and always has been social and political. This is a real conversation happening with the NCAA right now, so don't be surprised if, later this year, we get this headline: "NCAA moves all postseason games out of North Carolina."
It could happen, and if so, it would undeniably be both a huge statement and provide tangible impact on seeding and placement in the tournament in the years to come.