North Carolina’s bathroom law puts NCAA events at risk -official

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By Colleen Jenkins | WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. North Carolina is close to
losing NCAA championship events for six years at a cost of more
than $250 million because of a law that restricts bathroom
access for transgender people, a local sports official told
state lawmakers on Monday.

The governing body for U.S. college athletics is reviewing
bids to host events through spring 2022, including 133 from
North Carolina cities and universities, said Scott Dupree,
executive director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance.

The law known as House Bill 2, which bars transgender people
from using government-run restrooms that match their gender
identity and limits local nondiscrimination protections, will
doom the state’s chances, Dupree wrote in a letter.

“Our contacts at the NCAA tell us that, due to their stance
on HB 2, all North Carolina bids will be pulled from the review
process and removed from consideration,” said Dupree, adding he
was sharing the information on behalf of the North Carolina
Sports Association.

Asked for comment, the NCAA said it expects to announce its
site selections for upcoming seasons in April.

The organization in September moved championship events, including two rounds of the prominent Division I men’s
basketball tournament, from the hoops-loving state for the
current academic year in protest at the measure.

“In a matter of days, our state’s sports tourism industry
will suffer crushing, long-term losses and will essentially
close its doors to NCAA business,” Dupree said. “Our window to
act is closing rapidly.”

Adopted last March by North Carolina’s Republican-controlled
legislature, the law prompted legal challenges, boycotts by
corporations and entertainers, and the relocation of the
National Basketball Association’s 2017 All-Star Game.

Supporters of the statute cite traditional values and a need
for public safety, while opponents deem it discriminatory to
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

A repeal bid failed during a one-day special legislative
session in December.

Dupree’s letter prompted a new call on Monday by advocacy
groups and Democratic lawmakers for an immediate repeal to avoid
further economic damage.

Senate leader Phil Berger, a Republican, on Twitter blamed
the potential loss of more NCAA events on Democratic Governor
Roy Cooper, who took office in January.

In a statement, he said Cooper would “have to work toward a
compromise that keeps women from being forced to share bathrooms
and shower facilities with men to move past this distraction.”

Cooper urged Republican leaders to put the issue to a vote,
saying in a statement: “There is no time to waste.”

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