Greensboro to Greenville. One Carolina to another. That's the decision the NCAA made official on Friday, as the NCAA Tournament's headed back to South Carolina for the first time in 15 years.
The decision to take the NCAA Tournament out of North Carolina -- a basketball hotbed; the Big Dance is played there almost annually -- was catalyzed by a controversial bill that the NCAA (and many others) deem discriminatory.
"The board made the decision because of the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections," the NCAA stated in its press release on Friday. "Cities submitting bids for those championships also had to complete an antidiscrimination (sic) questionnaire."
South Carolina beat out many sites up and down the East Coast bidding for hosting duties. South Carolina has hosted the men's NCAA basketball tournament just twice before, in 1970 and 2002. Greenville -- home to Furman University -- hosted the latter. Given how close Greenville is to Greensboro (essentially a three-hour drive), the NCAA will allow those who already purchased tickets for the Greensboro pod to have first dibs on tickets for Greenville.
Geographically, the move makes sense.
Also, as Gary Parrish wrote last month, the move can be seen as symbolic. South Carolina was denied any hosting rights for NCAA championship events for nearly a decade and a half because that state continued to fly the Confederate Flag at its State House. The NCAA did not agree with the practice, and thus, South Carolina was off the table -- until recently. The Confederate Flag is no longer outside the State House. And now, the state gets the biggest sporting event the NCAA puts on.
We here at CBS Sports polled more than 100 coaches in July on this topic, expicitly asking them if they would be OK with the NCAA taking the tournament out of North Carolina due to House Bill 2. The majority said they would approve a move.
In replacing Greensboro for the 2017 NCAA Tournament, Greenville joins Buffalo, Milwaukee, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Indianapolis, Tulsa and Sacramento has first-weekend hosts.
2017 NCAA Tournament
Dayton (March 14-15)
First and Second Rounds
Buffalo, Milwaukee, Orlando, Salt Lake City (March 16, 18)
Greenville, S.C., Indianapolis, Tulsa, Sacramento (March 17, 19)
Kansas City, San Jose (March 23, 25)
Memphis, New York (March 24, 26)
Phoenix (April 1, 3)