The National Collegiate Athletics Association has cancelled seven major sporting events in North Carolina this school year because of the state's controversial transgender law.
National college sports championships and events "must promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans," the NCAA wrote in a statement. "Current North Carolina state laws make it challenging to guarantee that host communities can help deliver on that commitment if NCAA events remained in the state."
The cancelled events includes two games from the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship that was scheduled to take place in Greensboro during March Madness.
Bruce Springsteen, Pepsi, Whole Foods, Salesforce and others announced that they were boycotting North Carolina after Governor Pat McCory signed HB2 – also known as the bathroom bill – in April.
Earlier this summer, the NBA announced that it was pulling its 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte. That decision will likely cost the state more than $100 million in economic impact.
But it's the NCAA's move will really hit North Carolina where it hurts – and deal a major blow to students and athletes from college basketball powerhouses Duke University and North Carolina University.
State Republicans delivered a blistering statement in response to the NCAA's decision.
"This is so absurd it's almost comical," wrote Republican party spokeswoman Kami Mueller. "I genuinely look forward to the NCAA merging all men's and women's teams together as singular unisex teams. Under the NCAA's logic, colleges should make cheerleaders and football players share bathrooms, showers and hotel rooms. This decision is an assault to female athletes across the nation."
"I wish the NCAA was this concerned about the women who were raped at Baylor," Mueller added, in reference to the alleged mishandling of sexual assault cases involving members of the Texas school's football team. "Perhaps the NCAA should stop with their political peacocking."The bill mandates that transgender individuals use public bathrooms which accord with their sex assigned at birth rather than their preferred gender identity, and prohibits cities from passing anti-discrimination laws to protect their LGBT communities.