In September 2016, the NCAA pulled seven championship events from North Carolina, including the first and second rounds of the men’s basketball tournament. The basketball tournament was initially scheduled to be held in Greensboro but was moved to Greenville, South Carolina. In a statement, the NCAA Board of Governors wrote, “Current North Carolina state laws make it challenging to guarantee the host communities can help deliver on that commitment if NCAA events remained in the state.” In other words, because the state legislature failed to repeal or modify House Bill 2, which requires transgender people to use the restroom of the gender on their birth certificate, North Carolina was deemed unfit to host the tournament.
On Sunday, No. 2 Duke University lost to No. 7 University of South Carolina 88-81. The top-seeded University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill narrowly fended off No. 8 Arkansas 72-65. USC had a virtual home-court advantage, competing just 100 miles away from campus.
Though Duke and UNC both underperformed because of several factors, HB2’s effects are being felt on the basketball court as both schools had to compete far from home. With the NCAA set to announce upcoming tournament sites through 2022, there is an urgency for the state legislature to repeal HB2. If it doesn’t get repealed, future teams across the state will likely lose their home-state advantage. Multiple outlets, including NBC Sports and CBS Sports, have said the NCAA’s site change was a factor in Duke’s loss and could negatively impact North Carolina basketball teams in the future.