North Carolina lawmakers believe they've done what was necessary for the NCAA, NBA and other leagues to keep marquee sporting events in the Tar Heel State.
NCAA president Mark Emmert said Thursday he is pleased that progress has been made, but will let the NCAA board of governors have the final say with a decision to come in the "next several days."
"The politics of this in North Carolina are obviously very, very difficult," Emmert said. "But they have passed a bill now and it will be a great opportunity for our board to sit and debate and discuss it."
North Carolina legislatorsannouncedWednesday night theyreached an agreement withDemocratic Gov. Roy Cooperon a repeal of the law toend the standoff over the state's "bathroom bill."The NCAA hadset a Thursday deadline for the legislature to changeHB2 orbe further excluded from hostingevents through 2022.
Cooper announced Thursday afternoon that he had signed HB142, which repeals HB2.
HB2nullified Charlotte’s expanded nondiscrimination ordinance that extended legal protection for gay, lesbian and transgender individuals.It also requiredtransgender people to use the bathroom that would correspondwith the gender on their birth certificate in government buildings.
HB142 was met with harsh criticism from the LGBT community, saying the compromised partial repeal does not do enough to protect their civil rights.
The passing of HB2 led to the2017 NBA All-Star Game being moved from Charlotte to New Orleans, the first-round games in this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament beingmoved from Greensboro to Greenville, S.C., and theACC's football championship game being movedfrom Charlotte to Orlando.
"The recently passed legislation allows the opportunity to reopen the discussion with the ACC Council of Presidents regarding neutral site conference championships being held in the state of North Carolina," ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement released Thursday. "This discussion will take place in the near future, and following any decisions by the ACC Council of Presidents, announcements will be forthcoming."
Cooper said he has had "a lot of contact" with NCAA officials and believes the partial repeal will be enough to satisfy their concerns. The NCAA had a list of certain criteria that had to be met to lift the ban.
"I believe sports are coming back," Cooper said during his press conference to announce the repeal. "This was the best deal we could get. It wasn't a perfect deal or my preferred solution, but an important first step for our state.
"This was not about sports or businesses. It was about discrimination. And it was about North Carolina's reputation."
During Emmert's annual media address, the NCAA president said he would defer to the NCAA's board of governors. Emmert added that he does not believe the NCAA should dictate to states what their laws should be, but wants sites that have an environment that supports the NCAA.
"The board of governors have to determine whether this bill that was passed today was a sufficient change in the law," Emmert said Thursday at the site of this year's Final Fourin Glendale, Ariz. "I'm personally very pleased they have a bill to debate and discuss.
"Everybody loves being in North Carolina for our games. It's a state, obviously, that in many ways is synonymous with college sports. They are great hosts. Nobody made the decision to leave North Carolina casually. It was a very, very difficult decision for the board to make, and I'm sure the next decision will be very difficult as well."
Omnisport's Kirstie Chiappelli contributed to this report.