CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – More than half of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I basketball coaches who answered a survey by CBS Sports say they believe the organization should ban NCAA tournament games in North Carolina over House Bill 2.
According to a CBS Sports article posted Tuesday afternoon, basketball writers Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander polled 110 D-I coaches and asked them about the bill that made national headlines.RELATED: FULL COVERAGE OF HB2
HB2 requires individuals to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificate in government buildings, schools and universities, and initially took away the ability of employees to sue their employers in state court for discrimination or wrongful termination, among other things.
Months later, the legislature voted only to change a portion of HB2 that stripped workers of the right to sue their employers for wrongful termination.
The bill was passed in a one-day special session in late March and was signed by Governor Pat McCrory later that night.
It came as a response to a non-discrimination ordinance passed in February by the Charlotte City Council. The ordinance broadly defined how businesses should treat gay, lesbian and transgender customers. The debate, as in other cities, focused on bathrooms.
In late July, the National Basketball Association announced it was moving the 2017 NBA All-Star Game from Charlotte over House Bill 2.
“Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change,” the league said in a July statement. “We have been guided in these discussions by the long-standing core values of our league. These include not only diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view.”RELATED: NBA moves All-Star Game from Charlotte over HB2
“While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2,” it continued.
Less than 24 hours later, the NCAA asked cities hoping to be the host of future championships to specifically outline how they will protect participants and spectators from discrimination.
Bidding cities must complete a questionnaire by Friday detailing any local anti-discrimination laws, provisions for refusal of services and other facility-specific information.
Currently awarded host sites have a separate deadline to submit the same information, but the deadline will be determined later.
Parrish and Norlander say they asked more than 100 D-I coaches if the “NCAA should refuse to host any more NCAA tournament games in North Carolina “until the HB2 law is amended or eradicated?”
Of the group who answered the question, 56% answered yes.
Norlander added that “a number of North Carolina-based head coaches told me they believe the NCAAT should leave NC until HB2 is changed,” but said the Tar Heel state voted on both sides.
“Discrimination of any kind cannot be tolerated. What if this was a law that discriminated against African-Americans?” an unnamed coach asked. “Same difference to me.”
“This is where I think it’s about money. I think they should, but I don’t see the NCAA doing it because Carolina or Duke is going to be in that region and they’re going to sell it out,” another unnamed coach said. “The NBA brand? They don’t need [the All-Star Game in Charlotte]. The NCAA, in my opinion, they’re going to throw out racism or sexism or throw out any belief. Hey, if you’re transgender, you should be allowed to take the bathroom that suits who you are. I that that’s a perception thing. It’s what other people feel uncomfortable with. People are uncomfortable? It’s their problem.”
On the other side, a coach against pulling tournaments asked if the NCAA was going to “take a stand against every law and bill in every state that is controversial? Who determines which laws are worth protesting? Plus, the people of that state don’t deserve the financial hit.”
The spokesman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper, Ford Porter, Governor McCrory is “now even threatening college basketball in North Carolina by doubling down on HB2.”
“Enough is enough,” Porter continued. “We need to repeal this law and start working to repair our state’s image.”
The campaign spokesman for Republican Governor Pat McCrory, who is running for re-election issued a statement as well.
“Sports teams shouldn’t be threatening political boycotts of a state, especially when 21 other states are also suing the Obama administration over the same issue,” said campaign spokesman Ricky Diaz.
Norlander and Parrish said about 15 percent of the coaches polled either declined to answer the question or had an “I don’t care” opinion. The coaches who refused to answer were not factored into the final tally.