In a move North Carolina Republicans are calling "so absurd it's almost comical," the NCAA is relocating seven sports events out of the state because of its controversial "bathroom bill."
The NCAA's Board of Governors announced the decision on Sept. 12, saying the organization "must promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans."
"Current North Carolina state laws make it challenging to guarantee that host communities can help deliver on that commitment if NCAA events remained in the state,” the board wrote in a statement.
That means North Carolina will lose first- and second round-games in the NCAA's Division I men's basketball tournament, as well as the Division I women’s soccer championship, WUNC reported.
Previously, the NBA said it would not hold its 2017 All Star game in Charlotte -- home of the NBA franchise Hornets -- because of the state's HB2 law. The law has also prompted musicians like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Ani DeFranco to cancel concerts in North Carolina since the law was signed in March, according to NPR.
The NCAA said its decision to pull events from the state was about more than just opposition to the bill.
"Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships," NCAA President Mark Emmert wrote in a statement. "We believe in providing a safe and respectful environment at our events and are committed to providing the best experience possible for college athletes, fans and everyone taking part in our championships."
North Carolina Republicans were incredulous.
"This is so absurd it's almost comical," state GOP spokeswoman Kami Mueller wrote. "I genuinely look forward to the NCAA merging all men's and women's teams together as singular unisex teams. Under the NCAA's logic, colleges should make cheerleaders and football players share bathrooms, showers and hotel rooms. This decision is an assault to female athletes across the nation."
The so-called "bathroom bill," better known as House Bill 2 or HB2 among people in North Carolina, bars transgender people from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to their birth sex. In addition, it effectively rolls back LGBT laws passed by some of the state's cities and towns by declaring that state law -- which does not include any special protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people -- supercedes municipal law.