CIAA pulling most tournaments from NC over HB2, basketball to stay in Charlotte

CIAA pulling most tournaments from NC over HB2, basketball to stay in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Board of Directors says it will "immediately relocate 8 of the 10 North Carolina-based conference championships" over House Bill 2.

The conference made the announcement Friday afternoon.

Citing time constraints and contractual obligations, CIAA officials said the 2017 CIAA Women's and Men's Basketball Tournament will remain in Charlotte.

"Relocation would not be in the best interest of the membership and its student-athletes at this time," officials added.

The conference said the relocation of championships is "the first step in demonstrating that the conference does not support laws which prevent communities from effectively protecting student-athletes and fans."

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.

The CIAA says it will focus its resources during the 2017 tournaments to "enhance the student-athlete experience in-venue with collaborative efforts aligning with the Charlotte community to highlight diversity, inclusion, youth education, and leadership."

The CIAA Board of Directors says it will continue its discussion on hosting future championships in North Carolina and whether the tournament will remain after 2017.

"The CIAA Board recognizes that a single decision cannot offer a complete solution to a law that prevents communities from effectively protecting student-athletes and fans attending championships and events," officials said in Friday's statement. "The conference intends to increase its educational efforts to eliminate biases that exclude or marginalize any human being, regardless of one's race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or physical disability."

"The Board's decision allows the conference to fight against any measures which prevent the fulfillment of its mission to foster inclusive cultures for its student-athletes," the statement continued. "With the student-athlete experience in mind, the conference is committed to protecting all of its championship events."

Thursday, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced it was going to host the ACC Football Championship in Orlando after moving it from Charlotte two weeks ago over HB2.

The conference announced it was pulling all of its "neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year" over House Bill 2 just two days after the National College Association of Athletes (NCAA)'s announced it was pulling all championship events from North Carolina.

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