North Carolina's bathroom law puts NCAA
events at risk: official
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[February 07, 2017]
By Colleen Jenkins
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Reuters) - North
Carolina is close to losing NCAA championship events for six years at a
cost of more than $250 million because of a law that restricts bathroom
access for transgender people, a local sports official told state
lawmakers on Monday.
The governing body for U.S. college athletics is reviewing bids to host
events through spring 2022, including 133 from North Carolina cities and
universities, said Scott Dupree, executive director of the Greater
Raleigh Sports Alliance.
The law known as House Bill 2, which bars transgender people from using
government-run restrooms that match their gender identity and limits
local nondiscrimination protections, will doom the state's chances,
Dupree wrote in a letter.
"Our contacts at the NCAA tell us that, due to their stance on HB 2, all
North Carolina bids will be pulled from the review process and removed
from consideration," said Dupree, adding he was sharing the information
on behalf of the North Carolina Sports Association.
Asked for comment, the NCAA said it expects to announce its site
selections for upcoming seasons in April.
The organization in September moved championship events, including two
rounds of the prominent Division I men's basketball tournament, from the
hoops-loving state for the current academic year in protest at the
"In a matter of days, our state’s sports tourism industry will suffer
crushing, long-term losses and will essentially close its doors to NCAA
business," Dupree said. "Our window to act is closing rapidly."
Adopted last March by North Carolina's Republican-controlled
legislature, the law prompted legal challenges, boycotts by corporations
and entertainers, and the relocation of the National Basketball
Association's 2017 All-Star Game.
Supporters of the statute cite traditional values and a need for public
safety, while opponents deem it discriminatory to lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender people.
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A sign protesting a recent North Carolina law restricting
transgender bathroom access adorns the bathroom stalls at the 21C
Museum Hotel in Durham, North Carolina May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan
A repeal bid failed during a one-day special legislative session in
Dupree's letter prompted a new call on Monday by advocacy groups and
Democratic lawmakers for an immediate repeal to avoid further
Senate leader Phil Berger, a Republican, on Twitter blamed the
potential loss of more NCAA events on Democratic Governor Roy
Cooper, who took office in January.
In a statement, he said Cooper would "have to work toward a
compromise that keeps women from being forced to share bathrooms and
shower facilities with men to move past this distraction."
Cooper urged Republican leaders to put the issue to a vote, saying
in a statement: "There is no time to waste."
(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Peter Cooney and Lisa
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