After passing the HB2 bathroom law, which effectively prohibits transgender individuals from using the restroom of the gender they identify with, North Carolina continues to face backlash from the sports industry. After the NBA pulled its 2017 All-Star game out of Charlotte, the NCAA announced on Wednesday that it would pull seven of its championship events out of the state because of the controversial law.
Now, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) has announced that it also would be relocating all of its neutral-site championships for the 2016-2017 season out of North Carolina. The loss of the ACC’s title game will be an especially hard blow for the state, which was originally scheduled to run in Charlotte.
The moves from the ACC and the NCAA come after months of protests and calls for a repeal of the controversial bathroom law. The state’s Republican-controlled legislature and Governor Pat McCrory have thus far refused to consider repealing the law, despite the state losing millions of dollars from business, musicians and sports organizations pulling events out of the state.
Now that college sports organizations are pulling out of the state, lawmakers will be under even more pressure to repeal the law. College sports have been a major part of North Carolina culture for the last seven decades.
The loss of the championship games will be a major economic blow to the state. According to tourism experts, the NBA All-Star game may have cost the state $100 million. The Charlotte Chamber estimates a $285 million loss because of the HB2 law.
While college sports are a part of everyday life in North Carolina, many aren’t convinced that the moves from the NCAA and ACC are enough to make legislatures repeal the law.
The Republican leadership has already stood its ground through several costly boycotts and lawsuits, including one filed by the U.S. Justice Department.
Indeed, Governor McCory showed no signs of changing his mind on Tuesday, stating that the NCAA had “failed to show respect” to the state.
A spokesman from the North Carolina Republican Party stated, “I genuinely look forward to the NCAA merging all men’s and women’s teams together as singular, unified, unisex teams.”
While the statement was less-than-encouraging, LGBT activists are still confident that if North Carolina legislators won’t side with them, the courts will.