The ongoing controversy over HB 2 cost Charlotte the NBA All Star Game earlier this summer, and now Greensboro is going to feel a similar pinch: the NCAA tournament has pulled the city's March Madness games.
Greensboro was slated to host first and second round men's basketball tournament games on March 17 and 19. In addition, North Carolina lost eight other playoffs: the 2016 women's soccer championship in Cary, the D-III men's and women's soccer championships in Greensboro, the 2017 women's golf championship regional in Greenville, the 2017 DIII men's and women's tennis championships in Cary, the 2017 D-1 women's lacrosse championships in Cary, and the 2017 D-II men's baseball championship in Cary.
"This is not unexpected, and its very frustrating, because we could have fixed this when we were in session," state Representative Pricey Harrison, who represents a district in Greensboro, told the INDY Monday night. "So I’m pretty frustrated and kind of angry that the leadership didn’t pursue a repeal, because we’re paying an economic detriment for this state sanctioned discrimination."
Democratic gubernatorial nominee (and luckiest man alive) Roy Cooper piled onto McCrory after the decision was announced.
“It seems that almost every day, we learn of a new consequence of HB 2," Cooper campaign spokesman Ford Porter said in a statement. "Hosting NCAA championship events has long been a point of pride for North Carolina. These tournaments pump money into our economy and give our communities and fans a chance to showcase our incredible tradition of college sports. Now, our ability to host these events at the highest level has been eliminated because of Governor McCrory and HB 2. Enough. We need to repeal this law and get our state back on track."
Harrison said an estimate of economic losses in Greensboro due to HB 2 so far were around $6 million. And counting.
"It's going to hit the restaurants and hotels hard," she says. "It's doing economic and reputational damage to our state and we've got to repeal it."
We'll continue to update this blog as we get more information.
UPDATE: Things aren't going so well over at NCGOP headquarters.