The NCAA may revoke hosting honors for the men’s basketball tournament from North Carolina following the state’s passage of House Bill 2, which many consider anti-LGBT legislation.
On Wednesday, the organization’s Board of Governors agreed to require sites hosting or bidding on all NCAA events to “demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event.”
The announcement comes as several entertainers and businesses have announced boycotts to protest HB2, which curtails discrimination protection laws for LGBT residents and forces transgender men and women to use public bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificate. The law also prevents cities from passing anti-discrimination laws for public areas.
“The higher education community is a diverse mix of people from different racial, ethnic, religious and sexual orientation backgrounds,” said board chair Kirk Schulz in a statement. “So it is important that we assure that community — including our student-athletes and fans — will always enjoy the experience of competing and watching at NCAA championships without concerns of discrimination.”
The NCAA’s statement did not specifically mention HB2, but did say that the new requirement had been made in response to “recent actions of legislatures in several states” and laws denying services to LGBT residents. On July 1, a Mississippi state law allowing government workers, religious organizations, and certain private businesses to refuse service to gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people will go into effect.
Through the 2018 tournament, cities in North Carolina will have been selected as hosts for 15 of the last 18 NCAA men’s basketball tournaments. The Greensboro Coliseum has been selected to host first- and second-round tournament games in the 2017 tournament, while the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte will do the same in 2018.
Since HB2 was passed, several entertainers have canceled shows in North Carolina to protest the law, including Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Blue Man Group and Cirque Du Soleil. The NBA also has said that it is considering moving the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, though it has not disclosed a timetable for making that decision.