HB2, the NCAA, Roosting Chickens and all that

(Updates below)

The NCAA announced last night that it would be relocating seven championship events previously scheduled for North Carolina during the 2016-17 academic year, in response to HB2, the so-called “bathroom law” passed by the state legislature in March and signed by the governor. Among those events  are the first two full rounds of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Division I basketball championship, slated to be played in Greensboro, NC. Also relocating will be the 2016 Women’s D1 soccer championship and championship tournament events in lacrosse, baseball and tennis.

This is the latest and, from a pr standpoint, most damaging in a series of decisions by entities refusing to do business in North Carolina as a result of the law. The NBA’s announcement in July that it would be moving the 2017 all-star game from Charlotte to New Orleans was a high profile blow to the state. But North Carolina is, first and foremost, a college sports and especially college basketball hotbed. Losing a piece of March Madness is a slap in the face to the state.

Their pathetic protestations to the contrary, the GOP leaders who pushed the law through did so on the basis of the most craven of political calculations. Confident that demonizing further a frequently scorned minority would score them political points with their base, the legislature convened a special one-day session – their own version of March madness – and then drafted, “deliberated” and passed the law so fast it’s as if they were trying to beat Usain Bolt in a sprint. Governor McCrory, an unpopular politician facing a tough re-election fight this year signed it and then immediately went flailing about trying to explain the rationale for the bill. The so-called “safety” concerns that he and his allies have repeatedly invoked – that women and children would be set upon by transgender predators in the absence of laws like HB2 – are a fabrication. Other explanations have been no more honest, nor coherent. And all of that chicanery is now blowing up in McCrory’s face.

When all is said and done, this law will have accomplished nothing, apart from further stoking hatred, costing the state economically, and turning North Carolina into a pariah. Well done, Governor.


It’s worth keeping something in mind. Many of the people whining about how unfair it is that entities like the ACC, NCAA, NBA and many private businesses are dropping North Carolina are, of course, staunchly pro-market, however it is they mean that. Sorry to break it to you, but this is the market at work in one very specific sense. These money-making enterprises have made a business decision that they are better off – however they have come to that determination – not to be doing business in the state of North Carolina. This isn’t to suggest that their motives are singular. But that question – what does our presence in NC say about us as business entities – is at the heart of their deliberations? And they are exercising their freedom as independent enterprises to determine where they want to sell their wares.

Sometimes, freedom’s a bitch.



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