SBD/April 19, 2017/Colleges

NCAA Awards North Carolina Championship Events Again With Controversial Bill Altered

PNC Arena will host opening rounds of the men's basketball tournament in '20 and '21
North Carolina will again "host NCAA tournament games following last month’s replacement of House Bill 2," as the NCAA announced yesterday that Greensboro Coliseum and Raleigh’s PNC Arena would host the opening rounds of the men's basketball tournament in '20 and '21, respectively, according to a front-page piece by Cioffi & Peralta of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. Championships in "dozens of other sports" also will be played "across the state" during the '19-22 period. Charlotte was "not selected" to host NCAA Tournament games during those four years, but the NCAA earlier this month stated that championships already awarded for the '17-18 season "will remain in the state." That means Charlotte will "host the first and second round" of the NCAA Tournament at Spectrum Center next March (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 4/19). In Greensboro, Jeff Mills in a front-page piece notes this was the "first NCAA bid cycle since the N.C. General Assembly repealed and replaced" HB2 three weeks ago. The NCAA "stripped the state of seven championships this school year in protest of the so-called 'bathroom bill,' which it viewed as discriminatory against LGBT people." The NCAA’s response to the state's compromise legislation "passed with a deadline looming, was tepid." However, North Carolina was awarded 26 "host-site bids for championship events in 36 sports from all NCAA divisions." Pennsylvania may have "led all states with 53 winning bids," followed by Florida (51) and Indiana (41), but North Carolina "felt like the biggest winner" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 4/19). In Raleigh, Luke DeCock writes North Carolina "went right back to most favored nation status with the NCAA over the four-year bid cycle." The state "did get slapped around a little bit," as Greenville, S.C., got tourney games in '22 instead of Charlotte. The NCAA also passed over North Carolina "for a men's basketball regional, as it has been since" '08. However, for the "most part, the state got what it wanted" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 4/19).

TEXAS NOW ON THE HOT SEAT? 
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott yesterday said that he "wants to work with lawmakers to forge a measure he can sign into law" that would be similar to North Carolina's HB2. In San Antonio, Caruba & Fikac note Abbott has been "coy about the need for a so-called bathroom bill in Texas." However, his input on the issue "comes as the NCAA has lifted a boycott of hosting events in North Carolina." Abbott in February said that the NFL needed to "'get the hell out of politics' after the league hinted it could pull hosting duties for another Super Bowl from the state if a bill targeting transgender people was passed." Rice Univ. political scientist Mark Jones said that passage of a Texas bill could "still put 'an extreme amount of pressure' on the NCAA to pull" the '18 Final Four championship from San Antonio (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 4/19).
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