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House Bill 142, which replaced North Carolina’s controversial “trans bathroom bill,” is now law of the land in the state. Some LGBTQ activists are upset, though, claiming that the law is more of a half-hearted compromise that gives way to more discrimination. But for the NCAA, the law is good enough for the college athletics association to come back and play.
A press release published by the NCAA reveals that, while the Board of Governors is “concerned that some may perceive North Carolina’s moratorium against affording opportunities for communities to extend basic civil rights as a signal that discriminatory behavior is permitted and acceptable,” the association feels the new law “meets the minimal NCAA requirements” for hosting championships. Therefore, the Board of Governors “reluctantly voted to allow consideration of championship bids in North Carolina.”
“We are actively determining site selections, and this new law has minimally achieved a situation where we believe NCAA championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment,” the NCAA said. “If we find that our expectations of a discrimination-free environment are not met, we will not hesitate to take necessary action at any time.”
However, sites that are successfully given a bid in any state—not just North Carolina—will be “required to submit additional documentation demonstrating how student-athletes and fans will be protected from discrimination.”
Though the NCAA has pledged anti-discrimination protections, LGBTQ advocates are concerned that the NCAA has taken a step back from defending the community by giving North Carolina a fair shot at championship bids again. Hudson Taylor, Athlete Ally’s executive director, told the Daily Dot in an official statement, “Today, the NCAA told the LGBTQ community—including their own students—that they aren’t a priority. The hypocritical decision to move contests back to the state of North Carolina will have detrimental consequences on LGBT players, fans, coaches and officials that have entrusted the NCAA to establish and maintain an inclusive environment at championships and events. It is a crass decision and they have chosen money over principle. We will continue fighting until all are truly equal.”
The decision is a particularly upsetting one for Athlete Ally, which worked with the NCAA and NBA during 2016 amidst H.B. 2’s initial introduction. The organization is also one of a select few activist groups working specifically towards LGBTQ equality in sports.
Many LGBTQ allies and activists are upset with the NCAA’s decision as well, with some stating that the association is primarily concerned with making a profit.
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.