The fallout from North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2, known as HB2, continued last week as the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) decided to relocate eight of its championships out of the state. The CIAA issued its statement Friday indicating that only its popular Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament – its signature event scheduled for Feb. 20-25, 2017 in Charlotte – would remain in the state. Eight other championship events would move out of the state where eight of the 12 conference schools are located. The league’s volleyball championship tournament was already scheduled out of the state for Nov. 18-20 in Petersburg, Va.
The decision to keep the basketball tournament in Charlotte was based on “time constraints, particularly as they relate to contractural obligations,” the conference’s statement read. Relocation, the statement said, “would not be in the best interest of the membership and its student-athletes at this time.” Regarding the HB2 law, known as the ‘bathroom bill,’ the conference statement said the relocating of the championships is “the first step in demonstrating that the conference does not support laws which prevent communities from effectively protecting student-athletes and fans.”
HB2 was passed in March by the N. C. General Assembly after the city of Charlotte passed an ordinance in February that among other things would allow transgender people to use the bathrooms of the gender they identify with. HB2 not only overturned Charlotte’s ordinance but in effect made its provision that persons use the bathroom consistent with the gender on their birth certificate the law of the state. Many consider the state law a step back for LGBT rights.
Following the passage of HB2, the NBA in July moved its all-star game out of the state, from Charlotte to New Orleans. In September the NCAA cancelled seven of its championship events scheduled in the state and a few days later the ACC moved nine of its championships out of the state. Several major businesses have also cancelled plans to expand or open facilities in North Carolina.
The CIAA Cross Country Championship, originally to be held in Charlotte on Oct. 27, and the Football Championship Game, set for Nov. 12 in Durham, are the first on the schedule and presumably are the first to be re-located. CIAA officials were in a meeting Tuesday and were not available to comment on when relocation sites are to be named. They are thought to be feverishly negotiating and fielding offers for alternative sites.