Victory parade for Villanova Wildcats, 2016 NCAA men’s basketball champions
For months, North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2 (HB2) has been widely criticized by major American corporations, U.S. politicians and organizations. The law eliminates anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people and requires that in government buildings, individuals only use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates.
This week, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced that it will relocate seven championships from North Carolina for the 2016-17 season. This includes first- and second-round games of the Division 1 men’s basketball tournament.
“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA president. “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.”
Just a few days later, the Atlantic Coast Conference, home to some of North Carolina’s top universities, followed suit by stating it would relocate all neutral-site championships from the state during the 2016-17 season.
For a state that takes pride in its high-caliber college basketball teams, this has both an economic and emotional impact. HB2 has had a largely negative effect on the state’s economy, and the law has been condemned by members of the hospitality and travel industries in North Carolina.
According to certain media estimates, the law has already cost the state 1750 jobs and $77 million in investments and tourism. Numerous conventions, events and company expansions have been canceled due to HB2. An estimated 19 convention groups have pulled out of the Raleigh area since the law was passed in March.
“I think there are groups that might have been hesitating, and this will now give them more cause for concern,” Dennis Edwards, president of Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, told WNCN.
One of the biggest recent setbacks was the NBA’s decision to relocate the 2017 NBA All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans, a move that is projected to cost the state around $100 million in lost revenue.