The CIAA will keep its popular basketball tournament in Charlotte for 2017 but will move eight other championship events from North Carolina in protest of House Bill 2.
The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, which represents 12 historically black colleges and universities, announced the decision Friday.
CIAA directors voted to keep the basketball tournament in Charlotte “due to time constraints, particularly as they relate to contractual obligations,” the conference said in a press statement. Moving the tournament, the statement said, “would not be in the best interest of the membership and its student-athletes at this time.”
In voting to move eight championship events from the state, directors called it a “first step in demonstrating that the conference does not support laws which prevent communities from effectively protecting student-athletes and fans.”
Directors did not say what championship events would be moved from the state. As for the 2017 basketball tournament, directors said the conference would “focus its resources 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 2017 tournament is scheduled for Feb. 20-25 at the Spectrum Center. Directors said they would continue to discuss the tournament’s future in North Carolina beyond 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,” the statement said. “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.”
Earlier this week, TheUndefeated.com, a national sports website owned by ESPN, quoted Shaw University President Tashni-Ann Dubroy as saying that CIAA directors are under “immense pressure” to make the right call.
“Not only because they are highly cognizant of what the outcome of this decision will have on CIAA athletes, current students, alumni fan base and coaches,” Dubroy was quoted as saying, “but also on the external community.”
Eight of the CIAA’s 12 member schools are in North Carolina, and the conference this year moved its headquarters to Charlotte, which has hosted the popular tournament since 2006.
The website reported that a vote to move the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments could cost the CIAA and its member schools millions of dollars in lost revenue, with estimates as high as $1 million at one school.
“In total, conference schools combined could lose $6 million and possibly more, considering possible deposits lost on venues for scholarship fundraisers for some schools,” the website said.
House Bill 2, which, among other things, limits legal protections for transgender individuals, has been widely criticized by business groups that do business in North Carolina. Shortly after the bill was passed, PayPal scrapped plans to build a Charlotte operations center, which would created 400 jobs with an average annual salary of $51,000.
The NBA responded to the new law by pulling its 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte. And more recently, the NCAA and ACC announced that they, too, would pull championship games from North Carolina. Overall, the law, passed with overwhelming support from Republican lawmakers in Raleigh, has cost the state million of dollars in lost revenue.