GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The NCAA has announced it will relocate championships from North Carolina for 2016-17.
The move means North Carolina will lose a total of seven championship events including Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in Greensboro. North Carolina has hosted 251 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament games, the most of any state in tournament history.
Governor McCrory released a statement on NCAA's decision to move the games on Tuesday, saying:
"The issue of redefining gender and basic norms of privacy will be resolved in the near future in the United States court system for not only North Carolina, but the entire nation. I strongly encourage all public and private institutions to both respect and allow our nation’s judicial system to proceed without economic threats or political retaliation toward the 22 states that are currently challenging government overreach. Sadly, the NCAA, a multi-billion dollar, tax-exempt monopoly, failed to show this respect at the expense of our student athletes and hard-working men and women."
WFMY News 2's sister station WTLV in Jacksonville, Florida reports that the Jacksonville Sports Council is eyeing the seven NCAA championship events that will be relocated from North Carolina. On Tuesday, JAXSPORTS President Rick Catlett released the following statement about NCAA's decision to relocate championships:
"We are in constant contact with the NCAA and it is fully aware of our desire to host any and all of its championships. We will continue to monitor this situation and are fully prepared to discuss the possibility of relocating these championships to Jacksonville."
The move also means the Greensboro Coliseum will miss out on an estimated $14 million, it was expected to bring in from the tournament.
However, the Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament games are not the only thing leaving Greensboro. It also means the city will lose out on the Men's and Women’s Soccer Championships.
On Monday, the Board of Governors emphasized the NCAA championships and events “Must promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators, and fans."
The NCAA stated, “Current North Carolina state laws make it challenging to guarantee that host communities can help deliver on that commitment if NCAA events remained in the state.”
The board also listed the following as to how North Carolina is different from that of other states because of the four specific factors:
• North Carolina laws invalidate any local law that treats sexual orientation as a protected class or has a purpose to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals.
• North Carolina has the only statewide law that makes it unlawful to use a restroom different from the gender on one’s birth certificate, regardless of gender identity.
• North Carolina law provides legal protections for government officials to refuse services to the LGBT community.
• 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. These states are New York, Minnesota, Washington, Vermont and Connecticut.
These seven championship events will be relocated from North Carolina for 2016-17:
• 2016 Division I Women’s Soccer Championship, College Cup (Cary), Dec. 2 and 4.
• 2016 Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships (Greensboro), Dec. 2 and 3.
• 2017 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, first/second rounds (Greensboro), March 17 and 19.
• 2017 Division I Women’s Golf Championships, regional (Greenville), May 8-10.
• 2017 Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships (Cary), May 22-27.
• 2017 Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship (Cary), May 26 and 28.
• 2017 Division II Baseball Championship (Cary), May 27-June 3.
The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament first came to North Carolina in 1951 and games were held there as recently as the 2016 first- and second-rounds. Games have been held in Greensboro, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Durham, Chapel Hill and Charlotte.
State Representative Chris Sgro, of Greensboro, also the Executive Director of Equality NC, responded to the NCAA's decision. “The writing has been on the wall for quite some time to Governor McCrory and legislative leaders that having the worst LGBT law in the nation on the books is deadly for the North Carolina economy, for tourism and for our continued ability to host critical events like NCAA tournament games.”
Kami Mueller with the North Carolina Republican Party also responded, saying the ruling is "so absurd, it's almost comical." She added, “The NCAA would bode well to stop their political peacocking and care more about the safety and the privacy of athletes across the nation far more than their profit line.”
Sports fans in the Triad also reacted to the news.
“We have great athletics, great facilities, great colleges, it’s kind of a shame that they’re going to take all that away from us on just one little bill," said one man.
“It just feels unfortunate that we all have to suffer for our politicians decisions, we all don’t agree with that," added another fan.
Copyright 2016 WFMY