North Carolina, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, cut down the nets Monday night in Phoenix after downing Gonzaga for its sixth national title. That journey, however, started in Greenville, S.C. rather than Greensboro, N.C. due to the NCAA pulling games out of North Carolina in response to House Bill 2.After a repeal of H.B. 2 was passed last week in the form of House Bill 142, the NCAA Board of Governors announced it would again consider the state for future tournaments. The NCAA claimed it “reluctantly” voted and ruled that North Carolina can host any NCAA championships previously awarded to North Carolina for 2017-18.”We are actively determining site selections, and this new law has minimally achieved a situation where we believe NCAA championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment,” the Board of Governors stated in a release. “If we find that our expectations of a discrimination-free environment are not met, we will not hesitate to take necessary action at any time.”The NCAA announced North Carolina would not be considered for championship events from 2018 to 2022 last year when H.B. 2 went into effect. Along with the NCAA, the NBA also moved the All-Star Game out of Charlotte to go along with canceled events, concerts and performances in the state.The consideration does not guarantee North Carolina anything beyond 2018 at this point, but does open the door for in-state teams to potentially stay in N.C. for future opening round games. North Carolina’s repeal of H.B. 2 took place minutes before a set deadline last week, a point that Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain) claimed took issue with.”There was concern about was the deadline with the NCAA pushing this and I will tell you for me it was not,” Moore said. “Look, when you know you got the votes to pass a bill around here, I don’t care what it is, you put the bill on the floor and vote on it then.”Tuesday’s announcement was just another step in North Carolina being a part of future plans for NCAA Tournament games, with the first being taken last week. It’s far from the last step, however, as the NCAA pointed out in its statement.”The NCAA did not lobby for any specific change in the law,” the NCAA’s statement read. “The Board of Governors, however, was hopeful that the state would fully repeal HB2 in order to allow the host communities to ensure a safe, healthy, discrimination-free atmosphere for the championship sites.”While the new law meets the minimal NCAA requirements, the board remains concerned that some may perceive North Carolina’s moratorium against affording opportunities for communities to extend basic civil rights as a signal that discriminatory behavior is permitted and acceptable, which is inconsistent with the NCAA Bylaws.”The Atlantic Coast Conference, another major collegiate athletic league, also has restored North Carolina’s eligibility to host championship sporting events.Cooper and top Republican lawmakers, Senate Leader Phil Berger and House of Representatives Speaker Tim Moore, said in statements they were pleased by the NCAA’s move.”Last week’s compromise was an important step forward for our state,” Cooper said. “While more work remains to be done, it’s good news that the NCAA will be returning to North Carolina. We will continue our work with them to fight for statewide anti-discrimination protections for LGBT North Carolinians.”After a year of boycotts by corporations, conventions and concerts, elected officials said the revised measure addressed discrimination concerns while still protecting safety and privacy in government restrooms.
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