In its most direct statement yet, the NCAA on Thursday warned North Carolina to repeal House Bill 2 soon or lose championship events through 2022.
“As the state knows, next week our various sports committees will begin making championships site selections for 2018-2022,” the NCAA said in a statement. “Once the sites are selected … those decisions are final.” The NCAA plans to announce sites on April 18.
The statement came on HB2’s first anniversary. It also came as lawmakers and the governor remain at an impasse over repeal, though legislative leaders said Thursday they’re talking about changes in the law.
Last weekend Duke and UNC played their first-round NCAA tournament games in Greenville, S.C., after the games were moved from Greensboro. NCAA officials moved events “because of the cumulative impact HB2 had on local communities’ ability to assure a safe, healthy, discrimination free atmosphere,” the organization said Thursday.
Asked about the legislature’s timeline for HB2 changes, House Speaker Tim Moore, a Kings Mountain Republican, said the issue was the subject of lengthy GOP caucus meetings Wednesday and Thursday.
“We’re taking whatever time is necessary,” he said. “We’re not going to move forward until a majority of the caucus is prepared to do something.”
Earlier Thursday, representatives from Equality NC, the Human Rights Campaign and other groups dismissed any compromises and demanded a straight repeal of HB2.
“We don’t need compromises that double down on discrimination,” said Matt Hirschy, a spokesman for Equality NC.
JoDee Winterhof, a senior vice president of the national Human Rights Campaign, said, “The NCAA has put North Carolina on notice.”
“North Carolina lawmakers have run out of time for their reckless political gamesmanship, and they must immediately vote for full and complete repeal of HB2,” she said.