Faced with increasing pressure to repeal controversial legislation, North Carolina’s sports-hosting privileges hang in the balance.
On Wednesday, the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s board of governors announced a policy that requires cities and states to have
nondiscrimination ordinances or statutes in place in order to host tournaments and championship games.
The announcement, made during the board’s quarterly meeting in Indianapolis, comes after North Carolina and Mississippi passed “freedom of religion” laws,
which critics say are discriminatory toward the LGBT community.
issued a press release
outlining its stance, along with a video from Kirk Schulz, president of Kansas State University and chair of the NCAA’s board of governors:
In the release, the NCAA said the decision highlights the organization’s commitment to an “inclusive atmosphere” at its events:
The board’s decision reaffirms the NCAA commitment to operate championships and events that promote an inclusive atmosphere in which student-athletes
participate, coaches and administrators lead and fans engage.
The Association considers the promotion of inclusiveness in race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity as a vital element to protecting the
well-being of student-athletes, promoting diversity in hiring practices and creating a culture of fairness.
The organization says the new requirements supplement policies that prohibit the hosting of championship events in cities and states that conflict with
Historically, the Association has used the opportunity to host its events as a means to make clear its values. The Association now prohibits championships
events with predetermined sites in states where governments display the Confederate battle flag, and prohibits NCAA members from hosting championships
events if their school nicknames use Native American imagery that is considered abusive and offensive.
The new requirement integrates appropriate protections against discrimination into the championships bidding process. Board members feel the measure will
provide assurance that anyone associated with an NCAA championship event – whether they are working, playing or cheering – will be treated with fairness
that two cities in North Carolina—Charlotte and Greensboro—risk losing hosting privileges in 2017 and 2018 for the NCAA tournament’s first and second
rounds. The threat is especially strong, as North Carolina has hosted 17 NCAA events in the past 20 years.
The NCAA gave ESPN the following statement:
Currently awarded sites must report how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of
everyone involved in the event. The information must be reported to the Board of Governors Ad Hoc Committee to Promote Cultural Diversity and Equity, and
full implementation is expected during the current bidding process.'
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On Thursday, Chad Griffin, president of Human Rights Campaign, issued the following statement
the NCAA’s position:
The NCAA has sent a very clear message that unfair and unjust discrimination against LGBT people will not be tolerated by the association, and we hope
lawmakers are listening. In order for cities to even qualify to host these major sporting events, they must now have commonsense, LGBT-inclusive
non-discrimination protections. We commend the NCAA Board of Governors for taking this critically important stand in favor of fairness and equality.
The NCAA is the most recent organization to take a stand against recent legislation in North Carolina and Mississippi.
Also this month,
PayPal canceled its plans to open a global operations center
in Charlotte. Shortly after that, Deutsche Bank changed course on opening
operations in Cary, North Carolina.
Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Mumford and Sons, Demi Lovato, Pearl Jam and other musical acts have canceled shows in North Carolina and Mississippi since the laws have been enacted.
Executives at Salesforce, Microsoft and IBM have also issued statements protesting the legislation.
On April 12, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory amended the state’s legislation amid growing backlash but stopped short of reversing the statute’s
controversial provision that requires transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding to birth-certificate gender.