JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- The Jacksonville Sports Council is eyeing seven NCAA championship events that will be relocated from North Carolina due to the organization's objection to a bill regarding protections for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community that passed the state's legislature earlier this year.
The move means North Carolina will lose a total of seven championship events including Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in Greensboro.
"We are in constant contact with the NCAA and it is fully aware of our desire to host any and all of its championships. We will continue to monitor this situation and are fully prepared to discuss the possibility of relocating these championships to Jacksonville." Jacksonville Sports Council president Rick Catlett said in a statement Tuesday.
The city has hosted early rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament three times, most recently in 2015. The city is planning bids for future tournaments.
The Atlantic Coast Conference may also consider moving its championship football game out of Charlotte. Jacksonville was the host of the first three ACC title games before the game was moved to North Carolina.
On Monday, the Board of Governors emphasized the NCAA championships and events “Must promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators, and fans."
The NCAA stated, “Current North Carolina state laws make it challenging to guarantee that host communities can help deliver on that commitment if NCAA events remained in the state.”
The board also listed the following as to how North Carolina is different from that of other states because of the four specific factors:
• North Carolina laws invalidate any local law that treats sexual orientation as a protected class or has a purpose to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals.
• North Carolina has the only statewide law that makes it unlawful to use a restroom different from the gender on one’s birth certificate, regardless of gender identity.
• North Carolina law provides legal protections for government officials to refuse services to the LGBT community.
• Five states plus numerous cities prohibit travel to North Carolina for public employees and representatives of public institutions, which could include student-athletes and campus athletics staff. These states are New York, Minnesota, Washington, Vermont and Connecticut.
These seven championship events will be relocated from North Carolina for 2016-17:
• 2016 Division I Women’s Soccer Championship, College Cup (Cary), Dec. 2 and 4.
• 2016 Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships (Greensboro), Dec. 2 and 3.
• 2017 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, first/second rounds (Greensboro), March 17 and 19.
• 2017 Division I Women’s Golf Championships, regional (Greenville), May 8-10.
• 2017 Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships (Cary), May 22-27.
• 2017 Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship (Cary), May 26 and 28.
• 2017 Division II Baseball Championship (Cary), May 27-June 3.
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