The NCAA’s decision to “reluctantly” allow the state of North Carolina to host championship events from 2018-2022 — effectively removing a ban that cost the state millions of dollars in 2017 — will have ripple effects in other states, LGBT and human rights advocates contended on Tuesday. North Carolina had 133 bids sent to the NCAA from its cities, colleges and universities for that five year span that would’ve cost the state $250 million in economic impact, according to the North Carolina Sports Association.
The governing body for college sports determined that the changes North Carolina lawmakers made to the state’s controversial “bathroom bill” were sufficient enough after the state passed a new bill, House Bill 142, last week. The new bill’s authors deemed it a “compromise” from the previous House Bill 2, which the NCAA said went against its inclusive initiative because it did not protect its LGBT members.
Opponents of the new bill include the NAACP, which called it “anti-LGBT” and “an insult to civil rights.” House Bill 2 required transgender people to use the restroom based on their birth certificate and not based on the gender in which they identify. House Bill 142 exempts schools from state bathroom regulations but keeps in place the ban for anti-discrimination laws until December 2020 — meaning there is no law in place for businesses to determine bathroom guidelines.
“The NCAA set the bar extremely low,” said Hudson Taylor, executive director of the LGBT group Athlete Ally. “They set a negative bar.”
MORE ON BATHROOM BILLS
Taylor said states like Texas, which is on the precipice of passing a similarly criticized bill, were surely watching and that the NCAA’s decision provides a “road map” for how to skirt around losing millions of dollars.
Texas’ bathroom bill requires bathroom usage according to an individual’s “biological sex.” Senate Bill 6 is different than North Carolina’s bathroom bill in the sense that it is singularly focused on bathrooms and not ordinances, and it features a workaround clause that would allow organizations like the NCAA — the men’s basketball Final Four is in San Antonio next year — to lease stadiums and enforce their own inclusive bathroom rules. SB6 was passed by the Senate and has reached the House. Texas House speaker Joe Straus has spoken out against the bill before the NCAA’s decision on North Carolina. No decision has been made yet on the bill.
“The speaker of the house in Texas has opined he doesn’t think this is a good bill, so we’ll wait,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said last week at the men’s Final Four in Phoenix. “One of the things we’re trying hard not to do is try to second-guess states and where they’re going to go and not go (legislatively). I don’t know that we should presuppose where Texas is going.”
The NCAA’s board of governors made the decision on North Carolina with the logic that the new bill, while “far from perfect,” restored the state to…