The NCAA announced Monday that the collegiate sporting association will move seven previously scheduled championship events out of North Carolina during the 2016-2017 season in protest of House Bill 2.
"Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships," NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a press release. "We believe in providing a safe and respectful environment at our events and are committed to providing the best experience possible for college athletes, fans and everyone taking part in our championships."
This stance will result in several high-profile events being pulled from the state, including the first and second rounds of the Division I Men's Basketball Championship, Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship, the Division I Women's Soccer Championship, and Division II Baseball Championship.
The league stated that HB 2, a law passed in March that forced trans people to use public restrooms (in government buildings) that do not match their gender identity, is in violation of its commitment to inclusivity. HB 2 also prevents localities from enacting or enforcing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws or setting a minimum wage higher than the state's.
The NCAA further argued that the law could be a conflict of interest for schools.
"Five states plus numerous cities prohibit travel to North Carolina for public employees and representatives of public institutions, which could include student-athletes and campus athletics staff," the league wrote. "These states are New York, Minnesota, Washington, Vermont and Connecticut."
"This decision is consistent with the NCAA's long-standing core values of inclusion, student-athlete well-being and creating a culture of fairness," said G.P. "Bud" Peterson, the chair of the Board of Governors.
Chris Sgro, the executive director of Equality North Carolina, added that the decision is yet another indication that HB 2 "is hurting our economy, our reputation, and our people every day." He said in a statement, "Pat McCrory clearly knew that signing HB 2 would not just endanger LGBT North Carolinians, but would cost us business, tourism, and events like this."
State Republicans, however, dismissed the NCAA's actions as missing the point.
"This is so absurd it's almost comical," said GOP spokeswoman Kami Mueller in a press release. "I genuinely look forward to the NCAA merging all men's and women's teams together as singular unisex teams. Under the NCAA's logic, colleges should make cheerleaders and football players share bathrooms, showers and hotel rooms. This decision is an assault to female athletes across the nation."
"I wish the NCAA was this concerned about the women who were raped at Baylor," she continued. "Perhaps the NCAA should stop with their political peacocking -- and instead focus their energies on making sure our nation's collegiate athletes are safe, both on and off the field."
It may be difficult for the Republicans, including North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, to ignore the potential economic impact of yet another boycott on the embattled state.
In August, the NBA announced that it would be moving the All-Star Game from Charlotte, where the event was scheduled to be held next February. The decision was an estimated $100 million blow to North Carolina, and particularly distressing for the Tar Heel State after PayPal and Deutsche Bank pulled out of planned expansions in protest of the law.
The University of California, Los Angeles's Williams Institute has estimated that HB 2 will cost North Carolina $5 billion every year the law remains on the books.