On July 22, the day after the National Basketball Association announced it would remove Charlotte as the host for its 2017 All-Star Game, the NCAA revealed a plan requiring all future host sites for NCAA-sponsored intercollegiate athletics to verify whether they are subject to “bathroom laws” that allegedly discriminate against transgendered people.
The NCAA Board of Governors in April enacted measures designed to “protect participants and spectators from discrimination at NCAA events,” the organization states in its antidiscrimination policy.
To carry out those measures, the NCAA now will ask host sites to complete a survey, answering questions about city, county, or state antidiscrimination laws — or any other regulations that may assign bathrooms or locker rooms according to a person’s gender.
The NCAA’s actions follow North Carolina’s passage of House Bill 2, which overturned a Charlotte ordinance allowing individuals who identify as transgendered to use public and private bathrooms without regard to gender assignment.
H.B. 2, which now requires everyone in North Carolina using public facilities to use the bathrooms, locker rooms, and changing rooms that match the gender listed on their birth certificates, sparked intense protest across the country — leading entertainers like Pearl Jam and Demi Lovato, and companies like PayPal, in addition to the NBA, to abandon investments and appearances across the state.
“Since March, when North Carolina enacted H.B. 2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change,” reads a July 21 statement from the NBA.
“It is … important to stress that the City of Charlotte and the Hornets organization have sought to provide an inclusive environment and that the Hornets will continue to ensure that all patrons — including members of the LGBT community — feel welcome while attending games and events in their arena,” the statement adds.
Republican Gov. Pat McCrory called the organization’s actions unnecessary and unfounded.
“The sports and entertainment elite, Attorney General Roy Cooper, and the liberal media have for months misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present,” said McCrory, whose gubernatorial seat is being challenged this year by Cooper, a Democrat.
“Twenty-one other states have joined North Carolina to challenge the federal overreach by the Obama administration mandating their bathroom policies in all businesses and schools instead of allowing accommodations for unique circumstances,” McCrory continued.
The Indianapolis-based NCAA last year chastised Indiana state lawmakers — including current Republican vice presidential nominee and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — for enacting legislation preventing local governments from enacting laws that “substantially” burden the private practice of religion. Critics of the law claim it would allow private businesses to refuse service to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people. The NCAA said its new survey policy is designed only to make sure athletes are treated fairly under state and local regulations.
“The new requirement integrates appropriate protections against discrimination into the championships bidding process,” says NCAA’s policy statement. “Board members feel the measure will provide assurance that anyone associated with an NCAA championship event – whether they are working, playing or cheering – will be treated with fairness and respect.”