The NCAA has given its response to the recent law in North Carolina that curbed protections for anti-discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.
On Monday night, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced that it would be relocating all its games at the championship tournament level schedule to be held in the state over the upcoming academic year.
Amongst the different events that are affected by this decision by the NCAA are tournament games for Division I men’s basketball, which is the most prominent event, which had six first as well as second round games that were scheduled to be held next March in Greensboro.
The NCAA announcement follows that of the NBA, which decided this past July to move the league’s All-Star Game for 2017 from Charlotte to another location outside the state.
However, the decision by the NCAA is seen as a much more substantial hit as college basketball has become central to the pride and culture of the state for years.
North Carolina has been the host of more basketball tournament games for men than every other state said a spokesperson for the NCAA.
In a prepared statement that explained the NCAA decision that the Board of Governors handed down, it said that NCAA events and championships must be able to promote full inclusive for every college athlete, coach, administrator and fan.
Current state laws in North Carolina make it more challenging to guarantee host communities will be able to deliver on the commitment, said the statement.
The NCAA previously has expressed its support for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. In 2015, it pressured the state of Indiana over it law that was passed just days prior to the Final Four that was to take place in Indianapolis, that critics had said could help condone discrimination.
This past April, the NCAA adopted a measure for anti-discrimination when evaluating hosts for championships.
However, the decision on Monday will have big economic ramifications and could influence further activism by other sports leagues against local or state laws they look at as being against their principles or are disagreeable to their fan base around the country.
Nonprofit organization Athlete Ally, which fights against transphobia and homophobia in sports, said the NCAA decision was a huge statement and makes it very clear that any city or state wishing to be a host of the NCAA championships must protect as well as respect all LGBT constituents.