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Littlefield: With North Carolina, NCAA Finally Gets Something Right03:21
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The NCAA gets a gold star from Bill Littlefield for pulling seven championship events from the state of North Carolina. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The NCAA gets a gold star from Bill Littlefield for pulling seven championship events from the state of North Carolina. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
This article is more than 4 years old.

In Monday’s announcement that the NCAA would relocate seven championship events scheduled to take place in North Carolina, the association attributes to itself several “core values,” including “student-athlete well-being.”

This is nonsense. The NCAA created the term “student-athlete” in part to absolve member universities from an employer’s responsibilities to employees. As long as the fiction could be maintained that they were just students taking a break from their studies to play a little football or basketball, the universities didn’t need to compensate the athletes for their jolly recreation or injuries related to it, no matter that eventually the games began generating millions of dollars for the universities, the coaches, and for the NCAA.

"The NCAA is an organization embodying hypocrisy and characterized by inconsistency and pettiness. But the decision to move those seven championship events out of North Carolina was a good one, no matter the self-congratulatory ring of the rationale for it.”

The NCAA is an organization embodying hypocrisy and characterized by inconsistency and pettiness.

But the decision to move those seven championship events out of North Carolina was a good one, no matter the self-congratulatory ring of the rationale for it.

The North Carolina law to which the NCAA was reacting, known as HB2, requires, among other things, that transgender people use the restrooms at schools and government buildings that they would have used if they weren’t transgender. The rationale for the law has it that the alternative would endanger some of the other people using the bathrooms, though there is no indication in North Carolina or anywhere else that this is a legitimate concern.

So though I can’t believe I’m saying it: “Hooray for the NCAA.”

Maybe they made the call for public relations reasons. But maybe there’s more to it than that. In April, the association announced the adoption of an anti-discrimination measure which would rule out bids from sites failing to “demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination.”

Perhaps the decision to yank those seven championship events out of North Carolina can be considered evidence of a genuine commitment.

Ever since HB2 became the law in North Carolina, there has been grumbling about what this particular instance of discrimination might cost the state. When a corporation the size of the NCAA takes its business elsewhere, the grumbling gets louder. Perhaps the self-interest of the people losing money will override the fear and prejudice of the people making the bad laws.

Whatever works.

Bill Littlefield Twitter Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.

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