The move to repeal HB2 has begun; college basketball played a part

Luke Maye exults. Yours truly observes. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

On the Sunday that NCAA Round 2 games were to be played in Greenville, S.C., a man who works for the ACC said, “If North Carolina and Duke lose today, House Bill 2 will be repealed tomorrow.”

I laughed when he said it, but he wasn’t kidding. He noted that two of the three best TV markets for college basketball are Greensboro/Winston-Salem and Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill. (The other is Louisville, Ky.) North Carolina and Duke — the former nearly lost that day; the latter did lose — were playing in Greenville because the NCAA had moved first- and second-round games out of Greensboro due to HB2, the bathroom-rights bill.

Today — four days after the Tar Heels beat Kentucky on Luke Maye’s shot with 0.3 seconds remaining, two days before they’re to face Oregon in the Final Four — the process of repealing HB2 is in full swing. Not to trivialize something that is at heart a human-rights issue, but college basketball had something to do with this.

The NCAA is about to vote on sites for its next several tournaments. Were HB2 in place, the NCAA wouldn’t have awarded any games to the state of North Carolina. Such games have become almost a Carolina birthright. There being no domed stadium inside its borders, the Tar Heel State has no shot at a Final Four, but sub-regionals and the occasional regional became virtually an annual event in Greensboro or Raleigh or Charlotte or Winston-Salem.

(History: The NCAA tournament had made 14 North Carolina stops from 2000 through 2016. In 1997, there were sub-regionals staged in Winston-Salem, where Dean Smith broke Adolph Rupp’s record for career victories, and Charlotte, where Duke lost to Providence and God Shammgod.)

(More history: North Carolina State famously won the 1974 national championship without leaving the state. More recently, North Carolina won the ACC tournament and qualified for the 2008 Final Four — that’s three weeks of playing, FYI — without boarding an airplane.)

In a nation where college football has risen to gargantuan status, there remain two outposts where college hoops still hold sway. One is in the tri-state area that includes Louisville, Kentucky, Indiana, Butler, Xavier, Cincinnati and Dayton — and the other is along Tobacco Road. HB2 dealt North Carolina out of the tournament-hosting game, which was a major loss.

Both the NCAA and the ACC, which is headquartered in Greensboro, pulled their events for what those organizations saw as an affront to (the NCAA’s words here) “fairness and inclusion.” Beyond those who simply wanted North Carolina and Duke to have favorable sub-regional sites — and it’s worth noting that the Blue Devils wound up losing to South Carolina in, er, South Carolina — there was also the monetary loss. Tournaments mean tourists; tourists mean money.

Both the Tar Heels’ Roy Williams and the Blue Devils’ Mike Krzyzewski — the two most famous men in their state — have lambasted HB2. Williams called it “sad.” Krzyzewski called it “stupid,” adding: “It’d be nice if our state got smart. … Maybe we’ll get there in the next century.”

On Wednesday HB2 opponents released a video featuring Williams, Krzyzewski — and Maye’s winning shot. The video ended with these words: “They want basketball in North Carolina. Does your lawmaker?”

On Thursday morning, a committee in the North Carolina Senate approved a compromise that would would repeal HB2. Both legislative houses still to vote, but the Raleigh News & Observer reported that the bill to repeal “could end up on the governor’s desk by day’s end.”

Assuming this happens, it would be wrong to say that the repeal was all about something frivolous like basketball. It would also be wrong to suggest that there aren’t times when the frivolous can rise to become something more, something actually important. Like this.

Dance music:

An odd Final Four — two from the Carolinas, two from the Pacific Northwest.

Kentucky’s latest one-and-dones: Done one game from the Final Four.

Maye in March – North Carolina stuns Kentucky at the frantic end.

Kentucky’s Calipari: Often wronged, seldom wrong (according to him).

De’Aaron Fox and Kentucky show UCLA the door.

From sweet to elite: North Carolina cruises past Butler.

The Butler Bulldogs, a blueblood in their quiet way.

UCLA vs. Kentucky: “Traditions like no other.”

So, about that all-ACC Final Four — and other Dance musings.

Georgia Tech is bound for the NIT’s Final Four. It can win there.

South Carolina takes down Duke and shocks the world.

North Carolina survives and advances, if only just.

Can the SEC hit the ACC with a Sunday punch?

Memo to Villanova: You can’t win ’em all, and don’t play Wisconsin.

Down goes Notre Dame. So much for my all-ACC Final Four, huh?

Blueblood blowouts: Duke wins big; North Carolina wins bigger.

Once nearly a champ, Texas Southern’s Mike Davis burns to win one NCAA game.

The NCAA tournament — a drama in three acts.

Fearing embarrassment, Indiana opts to play at Tech — and loses.

This NCAA tournament’s Talking Point — 10th-seeded Wichita State.

A Bracket Fiasco first: I’m picking an All-ACC Final Four.

Duke shades North Carolina as the ACC delivers a big finish in the Big Apple.

On cue, the ACC has become the best basketball league ever.

Ever wonder why Roy Williams has critics? This game right here.

The ACC’s rising stars: Mike Brey and Notre Dame.

Duke-Louisville: Great game, great coaches, greatest quarterfinal ever.

Duke hasn’t been what we expected, but it’s still Duke.

Overachieving Tech hits the wall. So what’s next for Josh Pastner?

Tech’s bubble bursts, but in no way was this team a bust.

A bridge too far – the ACC tournament in Brooklyn.

Reader Comments 0


This is a sports blog, not a political one, but doesn't it seem like they could come up with a common sense compromise that replaced "birth gender" with "legal gender".  If you identify as the opposite sex, go to court have a judge declare you legally to be the other gender.  This would remove the argument that a boy can just say he identifies as a girl to visit the women's locker room.  Seems too easy, so neither side would go for it.  

But people care about sports, probably more than they should, and will do most anything  to be sure their team wins...


The NCAA, NBA & such need to remove events from sanctuary cities too while they are at it. These cities are blatantly ignoring federal law by housing criminal illegal aliens.


The NCAA has decided that men who believe that they are women can compete against real women in physical competitions. Thus, men are (or will be) taking trophies from women. How noble. 

Thus, why should ANYONE accept what the fools at the NCAA have to say in this matter?!


 our friend's ex-wife gets 82 per hour on the internet... she has been without a job for 10 months. last month her pay check was 13642 working from home three hours a day, go here


The Groper-in-Chief has offered to check each person seeking entry to the Women's unit.  Bannon and Milo will pay to check the Men's - so - I guess everybody will be happy.


Since the NCAA is threatening to continue to boycott a state, then I will boycott anything having to do with the NCAA.  They need to stick with sports and stop trying to force their disgusting liberal agendas down the throats of the public.


Truth is I would welcome any female who identifies with a male gender in a bathroom I am using for 2 reasons

Reason 1. Would love see the look on their faces and get their opinion after they get a good whiff of a fresh dump after the Whiskey and BBQ meal I had the night before

Reason 2. Flashing the Sausage while showing them what a Real Man comes equipped with

I am thinking they will quickly realize what a horrible mistake they made and would fmmediately require special counseling


It's a dumb, unnecessary statute that needs to be repealed. Good for Roy Williams and Coach K for speaking up.


Zero respect for Williams, Krzyzewski, and the NCAA. But none of this is surprising.