Update: The ACC Council of Presidents voted on Friday that North Carolina will be considered once again to host future ACC championships in all sports.
Original story: North Carolina lawmakers voted Thursday to roll back House Bill 2 -- a law which critics, including the NCAA, believe is anti-LGBT. The repeal comes with the passing of House Bill 142, which brings its own controversy due to the inclusion of language that restricts anti-discrimination ordinances in cities and counties.
The decision comes at the 11th hour and it could save the state’s chances of holding NCAA Tournament games, ACC championships and other major events that have been relocated from the state since HB2 was passed over a year ago. That law included requirements for transgender people to use the bathroom that matches their birth certificate in schools and other government buildings and excludes gay and transgender people from discrimination protections by local governments.
Governor Roy Cooper, elected in November, supports the compromise and is expected to sign the bill into law but acknowledged “it’s not a perfect deal.” House Bill 142 prohibits local governments from enacting or amending local nondiscrimination ordinances through 2020, which lawmakers said, via WRAL, “would give time for federal lawsuits over transgender rights to be resolved.”
The NCAA has not issued an official statement since the compromise was announced, but it did give North Carolina a final warning last week about the need to repeal the “bathroom bill” in order to get future championships in the state. The NCAA is scheduled to make decisions on future sites in all sports, including the men’s basketball tournament, for the 2018-22 cycle this week.
Meanwhile, ACC commissioner released a statement Thursday saying “The recently passed legislation allows the opportunity to reopen the discussion with the ACC Council of Presidents regarding the neutral site conference championships being held in the state of North Carolina.”
Greensboro was set to host first- and second-round games of the NCAA Tournament this postseason but lost the games to Greenville, South Carolina, when the NCAA pulled seven championships out of the state citing the association’s values “of inclusion and gender equity.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina released a statement Thursday morning criticizing the compromise, saying it “uses the rights of LGBT people as a bargaining chip.”
The law,,” has also led to non-sports cancellations, including Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam concerts. Currently, New York and Minnesota are among the states that have mandates against “non-essential” travel to North Carolina. Albany and Vermont have both canceled nonconference sporting events in the state as well.