- Getty Images/Al Bello
The NCAA announced on Tuesday it would no longer blacklist North Carolina from hosting championship events after the state scaled back its so-called bathroom bill.
But the NCAA’s decision has angered LGBT advocates, who say the NCAA is opening the door to discriminatory laws across the US.
The original law, known as HB2, limited LGBT legal protections in North Carolina and restricted which public bathroom transgender people could use. Last week, lawmakers replaced it with a compromise that removed the bathroom provision but still limited the ability of local governments to pass antidiscrimination laws for LGBT people.
Now that the NCAA has signaled its approval of the compromise, some fear that other states could be empowered to draft similar legislation.
“Prior to the NCAA’s decision to go back to North Carolina, there was a question as to what standard the NCAA would expect of championship hosts on LGBT respect and inclusion,” Hudson Taylor, the founder and executive director of the LGBT advocacy group Athlete Ally, told Business Insider.
“By going back to North Carolina,” he said, “they have lowered that standard significantly.”
In Texas, some lawmakers viewed the NCAA’s announcement as validation of their own bathroom bill, the Texas Privacy Act, which is making its way through the state legislature.
“We have always said that the Texas Privacy Act was not in conflict with the antidiscrimination goals of the NCAA, and the statement they released this morning makes that abundantly clear,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, one of the bill’s most vocal champions, said in a statement on Tuesday.
State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, the bill’s author, was equally quick to claim victory.
“I … applaud the NCAA for now agreeing that there is nothing discriminatory about the Texas Privacy Act,” she said in a statement.
The NCAA described the North Carolina compromise as “far from perfect” and said it approved of it only “reluctantly.” According to the statement, North Carolina sites that are chosen to host championships will need to submit additional documentation to prove they won’t discriminate, and the NCAA suggested it would review each selection case by case.
But that did little to placate those who wished for a full repeal of HB2.
“The NCAA’s decision has put a seal of approval on state-sanctioned discrimination,” Chris Sgro, the executive director of Equality NC, told NBC News.