The following was an email sent to member institutions of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). As a Division II school, Stonehill College has received news that impacts our Skyhawk athletes and their ability to play in division-wide events. The NCAA Board of Governors issued a statement in respond to the concerning laws passed in North Carolina, that impact many members of the Stonehill Community should they enter the state.
Sept. 12, 2016
The NCAA Board of Governors made a decision this evening in line with our commitment to fairness and inclusion. The Association will relocate all seven previously awarded championship events from North Carolina during the 2016-17 academic year. The board made this decision because of the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.
Current North Carolina state laws make it challenging to guarantee host communities can help deliver on our commitment if our events remained in the state – a requirement the board recently established for hosting NCAA events. These laws enable discriminatory treatment while also preventing communities from effectively protecting student-athletes and fans attending NCAA championships. North Carolina is different from other states because of the combination of at least four 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.
This decision will impact events in all three divisions:
- 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.
The only championship events that can be hosted in North Carolina this academic year are those that are decided when student-athletes earn the opportunity to play a championship on their own campus. The Board of Governors’ decision to allow these championships – called nonpredetermined sites – to be played in North Carolina is consistent with the NCAA’s commitment to student-athletes.
This decision is consistent with the actions we have previously taken to promote our values. We also ban predetermined championships events in states whose governments display the Confederate battle flag or authorize sports wagering and at schools that use hostile and abusive Native American language or imagery. Now, to protect championships participants and fans from discrimination because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, we find it necessary to find other locations for our events. A group of representatives from NCAA schools will continue to evaluate bids to determine which locations can host future events. Future championships site decisions, typically announced in early December, will be delayed until next year.
Fairness means more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even championships. It means feeling safe and respected while participating in those opportunities. This decision impacts relationships, contracts and revenue for the NCAA, our members and our partners. But we could not reconcile moving forward with events in North Carolina with our commitment to creating the best student-athlete experience possible at our events.
G.P. “Bud” Peterson
President, Georgia Institute of Technology
Chair, NCAA Board of Governors
How do you feel about NCAA’s decision to pull events out of North Carolina? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to comment below and contribute to the conversation!