Credo Action

The NCAA and North Carolina’s discriminatory anti-LGBT laws

Sign the petition

Tell the National Collegiate Athletic Association:

“An organization responsible for the welfare of the nation’s college student-athletes should not host or participate in events in any state that officially sanctions discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Stop hosting NCAA events in North Carolina until its discriminatory anti-LGBT laws are repealed.”

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    The NCAA and North Carolina’s discriminatory anti-LGBT laws

    The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the non-profit organization responsible for organizing and regulating America’s college athletic programs. They are responsible for the welfare of nearly half a million student-athletes across the country, and have a stated and demonstrated commitment to equality and the safety of their LGBT student-athletes — but that commitment is now under question.

    North Carolina’s shameful and unconstitutional anti-LGBT law, HB 2, has been attracting criticism and outrage for months. The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that HB2 was in violation of the Civil Rights Act, called on North Carolina to stop state-sponsored discrimination and filed a civil rights lawsuit against the state. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory took the opportunity to double down on hate by suing the DOJ in response.1

    The NCAA is scheduled to host at least 20 tournament games in North Carolina in the next few years. In the wake of HB 2’s passage, the NCAA’s board adopted an anti-discrimination measure and said that current tournament sites would have to report “how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination, [and that] safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event.”2 With their lawsuit, Gov. McCrory and the Republicans in the North Carolina legislature have made their position clear – they are going to do everything in their power to keep discriminating against trans people. The time has come for the NCAA to act.

    Tell the NCAA: Stop hosting events in North Carolina or any state with anti-LGBT laws until they are repealed.

    North Carolina’s legislation is a stunning attack on the rights of North Carolinians on multiple levels. The law bans any local nondiscrimination laws, a hateful response by state officials to the city of Charlotte passing legislation to protect transgender people from discrimination. The law also bans transgender people from using bathrooms that match their gender identities, and prevents civil suits even in the case of documented discrimination. Essentially, North Carolina just gave the whole state license to discriminate against gay and transgender people.

    The NCAA has taken stands against bigotry and discrimination in the past. When Indiana tried to pass similar anti-gay legislation last year, the NCAA was one of the first organizations to speak out against it. Pressure from the NCAA and other business, civic, and sports leaders eventually forced the state to amend the law.3 In 2001, the NCAA imposed a ban on holding championship events in South Carolina and Mississippi because the Confederate battle flags flying at the state capitols were misaligned with the values of the organization. And in 2005, the NCAA banned schools from hosting championship events if they have hostile or abusive mascots, most notably Native American caricatures.4

    Unfortunately the NCAA still has a mixed record on its commitment to equality. In contrast to the NCAA’s stand last year in Indiana, it held the 2016 men’s basketball finals in Houston, where last year voters defeated Prop 1, Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance, in a campaign marked by anti-transgender bigotry and fear-mongering.5

    The NCAA has said in a statement about North Carolina that they are “monitoring the situation”.6 Monitoring the situation is not enough— the NCAA needs to use its considerable power and influence to help bring North Carolina onto the right side of history.

    Tell the NCAA: Stop hosting events in North Carolina or any state with anti-LGBT laws until they are repealed.

    Thank you for standing up to discrimination.

    References

    1. Joe Sterling, Eliott C. McLaughlin and Joshua Berlinger, “North Carolina, U.S., square off over transgender rights,” CNN Politics, May 10, 2016.
    2. Andy Katz, “Officials: North Carolina must show proof of discrimination-free zone, or lose NCAA tournament games,” ESPN, Apr. 29, 2016.
    3. Bryce Covert, “The Backlash Against North Carolina’s Anti-LGBT Law Is Growing,” Think Progress, Mar. 26, 2016.
    4. Could North Carolina law cost state NCAA events?,” USA Today, Mar. 24, 2016.
    5. Cyd Zeigler, “The NCAA shares responsibility for North Carolina's hateful anti-LGBT law,” Outsports, Mar. 28, 2016.
    6. NCAA monitoring North Carolina anti-discrimination law,” ESPN, Mar. 24, 2016.