Will North Carolina host NCAA tournaments? Decision day approaches

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The NCAA will announce host sites Tuesday for many of its future championship events. (WTVD)

Will North Carolina be the big winner?

The NCAA on Tuesday will announce host cities and universities for tournaments through 2022, with North Carolina bids back in the running after the state rolled back a law that limited protections for LGBT people.

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"You may be pleasantly surprised or you may be really disappointed," CEO of Triangle Sports Commission, Hill Carrow, said. "You're kind of anxiously awaiting to see what happens."

Carrow is a key member of the North Carolina Sports Association which, along with the Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, worked closely with state lawmakers and NCAA officials on the efforts to repeal HB2.

In total, North Carolina cities and universities submitted 133 bids to host NCAA events, with an estimated economic impact of $250 million.

"It brings visitor traffic from all over the country for the championships," Carrow explained. "They generate the same dollars person to person that any other championship does."

Backyard Bistro next to PNC Arena made big bucks when the venue hosted NCAA men's basketball tournament games in 2016.

"It was crazy. It's always crazy here when there's a game in the city let alone right across the street," said assistant manager Rianne Bauerlein.

A surge in out-of-town customers meant the cash was flowing.

"We have a lot of fans that travel very, very well. A lot of the schools travel well, so we get not just our local fans from our local schools, but we get an inundation of the other schools, and it's fantastic," Bauerlein said.

The NCAA, the governing body of collegiate sports, announced earlier this month that its Board of Governors had reviewed moves to repeal the "bathroom bill" and replace it with a compromise law. The NCAA offered a lukewarm endorsement, saying the new law "meets the minimal NCAA requirements" while expressing concerns about its provisions.

The NCAA statement said a majority of the board "reluctantly voted" to allow for consideration of bids from North Carolina during current deliberations for sites running through 2022. Events for the 2017-18 season that have already been awarded to the state, such as opening-weekend men's basketball tournament games in Charlotte will remain in place.


"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 statement said. "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 pulled seven events from the state for the 2016-17 season, including men's basketball tournament games from Greensboro in March, in response to the law. Those games were moved to Greenville, South Carolina, which had been banned from hosting events for years before that was lifted following the removal of a Confederate flag from state capitol grounds in 2015.

The next time the NCAA will host a bidding and selection process will be in 2020.
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