The National College Athletic Association is relocating all championship tournament games out of North Carolina in response to the state’s transphobic and homophobic law, HB2.
The decision, announced on Monday evening, affects the Division I men’s basketball tournament, the NCAA’s biggest annual bracket, scheduled to be played in Greensboro in March.
“NCAA championships and events must promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans,” the organization said in a statement. “Current North Carolina state laws make it challenging to guarantee that host communities can help deliver on that commitment.”
In 2014, the NCAA joined the voices calling on Indiana governor Mike Pence to veto SB 101, a bill that allows discrimination against LGBT people on religious grounds. (The NCAA is headquartered in Indianapolis.)
In addition to men’s basketball, the NCAA’s decision regarding North Carolina affects upcoming 2017 championships for Division I women’s golf, soccer and lacrosse; Division II women’s baseball and Division III men’s and women’s soccer.
North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, who signed HB2 into law, is currently seeking reelection, though he is down in polls against Democratic opponent Roy Cooper.
“These tournaments pump money into our economy and give our communities and fans a chance to showcase our incredible tradition of college sports,” said a Cooper spokesperson. “Now, our ability to host these events at the highest level has been eliminated because of Governor McCrory and HB2.”
McCrory has not commented on the boycott, but Kami Mueller of the North Carolina Republican Party called the decision “so absurd it’s almost comical.”
“I wish the NCAA. was this concerned about the women who were raped at Baylor,” she quipped.
In July, the NBA announced it was moving the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte because of HB2, which bans trans people from using the bathroom that matches their gender identity and prohibits local municipalities from enacting laws protecting LGBT people.