The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced last night that it will relocate 7 championship tournaments out of North Carolina because of the state’s discriminatory HB 2, which effectively banned transgender people from using public restrooms.
The law also overturned local LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances, like the kind that existed in Charlotte and are currently supported by 8 cities here in New Hampshire.
In a statement posted to its website, the NCAA made clear that the organization has a serious “commitment to fairness and inclusion,” which is in direct conflict with North Carolina’s attempts to discriminate against LGBT people. As a result, it would be forced to relocate championships scheduled to be held in Cary, Greensboro and Greenville between December 2016 and May 2017. The decision comes a little over a month after the NBA announced it would take steps to move its 2017 All-Star game out of Charlotte due to HB2.
With its decision to relocate upcoming collegiate events, the NCAA sent an important message that transgender Americans deserve to be treated fairly—just like everyone else. Furthermore, it’s proof that protecting all people from discrimination isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s a smart business move.
Last night’s announcement is just the latest chapter in a saga of economic turmoil that has roiled North Carolina since HB2 was passed in March.
The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce estimates HB2 has cost the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region at least $285 million in lost economic investment, and that’s on top of the more than $100 million lost from the NCAA games. The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau says the law has cost their region more than $40 million—a number likely to grow as the losses to Cary, a suburb of Raleigh that was scheduled to host 4 of the 7 cancelled championships, become more apparent.
North Carolina’s experiences with HB2 have made it clear: In order for states to compete for these high-grossing games and other lucrative opportunities, they must build a state reputation for being inclusive and welcoming off all. New Hampshire is no exception to this rule.