With bathroom bill repeal, NCAA to hold off decision on N.C. return

ByDana O'Neil ESPN logo
Friday, March 31, 2017
In this March 18, 2015, file photo, the NCAA logo is at center court in Pittsburgh.

NCAA president Mark Emmert said that, in light of North Carolina's decision to repeal its controversial bathroom bill, the organization's board of directors will announce next week whether it will allow the return of NCAA championship games to the state.

On Thursday, the North Carolina House of Representatives voted to repeal the controversial House Bill 2 law, which said that transgender people would have to use the bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates. Gov. Roy Cooper later signed the bill.

After the bill went into effect, the NCAA announced North Carolina would not be considered for championship events from 2018 to 2022. The NBA also moved its All-Star Game out of Charlotte and several entertainers, including Bruce Springsteen, canceled planned concerts in the state.

But the new deal, considered a compromise, has left the LBGTQ community less than happy. The new deal does mean lawmakers can no longer govern who uses what bathroom or locker room. However, it does not allow nondiscrimination laws passed before HB2 to go back into effect, nor does it permit local governments from passing new anti-discrimination laws before Dec. 1, 2020.

The new law also prohibits government agencies from establishing trans-friendly bathrooms and locker rooms.

READ MORE: Who's against North Carolina's HB2 compromise bill

Emmert said that, with committees needing to make decisions soon to meet bidding obligations, the board will meet in the next few days to debate the merits of the new law.

"The board had four problems with that bill, they've removed some of those but not all of them," Emmert said. "They've removed two or three, but is that enough?"

ACC commissioner John Swofford, whose league opted to relocate its 2017 football championship from North Carolina to Orlando, Florida, said the conference will reconsider its position as well.

"The recently passed legislation allows the opportunity to reopen the discussion with the ACC Council of Presidents regarding neutral site conference championships being held in the state of North Carolina," Swofford said in a statement. "This discussion will take place in the near future, and following any decisions by the ACC Council of Presidents, announcements will be forthcoming."

A similar bill has been proposed in Texas. Dallas is slated to host first-round games in 2018, and the Final Four is slated for San Antonio next year.

Emmert conceded moving the Final Four is "a very difficult thing to do."

"We're trying hard not to second-guess where states are going to go and not go," Emmert said. "There were something like five states that had similar bills of various forms and none passed. I don't know that we should presuppose what a state is going to do. I know the Texas speaker doesn't think this is a very good bill and he's very powerful there."

MORE: Governor Cooper signs North Carolina's HB2 compromise bill