After a delay, the Southern Conference finally announced its decision.
In spite of the controversial HB2 law, the Southern Conference will play the 2016-17 championships in North Carolina.
By making it against the law to use a bathroom other than the one corresponding to one’s sex on his or her birth certificate, North Carolina’s House Bill 2 is seen by some as discriminatory against the LGBT community. It has struck such a nerve that the NBA has pulled its 2017 All Star game from Charlotte, and last month, the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference withdrew its championships in the state.
ETSU’s conference mulled over the decision, but on Sept. 30 decided to leave the tournaments in North Carolina, which include men’s and women’s basketball in Asheville, men’s soccer in Greensboro and men’s golf in Pinehurst.
Though presidents and chancellors for their respective universities in the Southern Conference strongly disagree with any legislation oppressing any individual or group of people, and while they will continue monitoring the developments, they decided the most prudent move was the status quo.
“This has been a thoughtful, respectful process by all parties in response to a complicated issue,” said Southern Conference commissioner John Iamarino. “Honoring our commitments for this academic year does not punish the local host communities and gives our student-athletes the best championship experience we can provide.”
For its part, ETSU is aligning with the conference.
“We shared our thoughts and opinions with the conference,” said ETSU athletic director Richard Sander. “At this point, the conference has made its decision, and we are moving forward.”
With regards to security over such a contentious issue, Iamarino asserted that the three North Carolina playing venues will be “privately controlled by the hosts” and will give the conference a “high level of confidence that a safe, inclusive environment will be present.”
“We believe any actions taken by this membership should reflect our respect for all people.”