Duke loses Albany as opponent over ban on travel to North Carolina

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Thursday, July 14, 2016
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DURHAM -- Duke has an opening on its men's basketball schedule because of the state law that impacts LGBT people.

The Blue Devils were supposed to play Albany on Nov. 12 as part of the Hall of Fame Tipoff tournament but there's no opponent listed on that day in Duke's schedule that was released Wednesday.

Holly Liapis, spokeswoman for the State University of New York system that includes Albany, says that game won't be played because of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive order banning publicly funded, non-essential travel to North Carolina.

Cuomo's order is in response to a North Carolina law that opponents say can allow discrimination against LGBT people.

"While Governor Cuomo has initiated a ridiculous boycott of our state, thousands of his citizens continue to move out of New York and now call North Carolina home," NC Gov. Pat McCrory said in response. "Millions of dollars of misleading, taxpayer-subsidized commercials nor an executive will not stop this exodus. Governor Cuomo, our North Carolina borders are open and our citizens are hospitable. Play ball!"

Liapis said SUNY and its campuses continue to support Gov. Cuomo "on taking this stand."

With Albany out, the first version of the schedule released by Duke had the Blue Devils playing Marist on Nov. 12. An amended version issued roughly an hour later had a vacancy for that day and indicated that the Hall of Fame notified Duke that its opponent has not yet been confirmed.

Duke begins the season with two on-campus games in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off -- the opener against Grand Canyon on Nov. 11, and the still-undetermined game the next day.

Duke spokesman Cory Walton said tournament organizers are responsible for filling that opening. In addition to Duke, Marist, Grand Canyon and Albany, the remaining four schools in the tournament field are Cincinnati, Penn State, Rhode Island and Brown.

Greg Procino, vice president of basketball operations for the Hall of Fame, said in a statement that his group is working with the other schools to reschedule the on-campus games and expects to have that completed in the next week.

Duke, Cincinnati, Penn State and Rhode Island are the host schools for the on-campus rounds and are each contracted to have two home games, Procino said.

"The tournament schedule had been in place for about a year, so this was an unexpected turn of events," Procino said.

The North Carolina law signed earlier this year by McCrory -- known as HB2 -- requires transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. It also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from statewide antidiscrimination protections.

It came in response to Charlotte leaders approving a controversial measure that allowed transgender people to use the restroom aligned with their gender identity. Supporters have defended the law as a common-sense measure that keeps men from using women's restrooms.

It's led to a public and business backlash, with the NBA still weighing whether to move its All-Star game from Charlotte. The NCAA this spring announced a policy to require sites hosting or bidding on both its predetermined and merit-based events to show how they will provide an environment that is "safe, healthy and free from discrimination."

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