The NCAA announced on Tuesday it would no longer blacklist North Carolina from hosting championship events after the state scaled back its controversial “bathroom law.”
But the NCAA’s decision has angered LGBT advocates, who say the NCAA is opening the door to discriminatory laws across the country.
The original law, known as HB2, limited LGBT protections in North Carolina and restricted which public bathroom transgender people could use. Last week, lawmakers replaced it with a compromise that removed the bathroom provision, but still limited the ability of local governments to pass their own LGBT protections.
Now that the NCAA has signalled its approval of the compromise, some fear that other states could be empowered to draft similar legislation.
“Prior to the NCAA’s decision to go back to North Carolina, there was a question as to what standard the NCAA would expect of championship hosts on LGBT respect and inclusion,” Hudson Street, founder and executive director of LGBT advocacy group Athlete Ally, told Business Insider.
“By going back to North Carolina, they have lowered that standard significantly.”
In Texas, some lawmakers viewed the NCAA’s announcement as validation of their own bathroom bill, the Texas Privacy Act, which is making its way through state legislature.
“We have always said that the Texas Privacy Act was not in conflict with the anti-discrimination goals of the NCAA and the statement they released this morning makes that abundantly clear,” Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, one of the bill’s most vocal champions, said in a statement on Tuesday.
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, the bill’s author, was equally quick to claim victory.
“I … applaud the NCAA for now agreeing that there is nothing discriminatory about the Texas Privacy Act,” she said in a statement.
The NCAA described the North Carolina compromise as “far from perfect,” and said it approved of it only “reluctantly.” According to the statement, North Carolina sites that are chosen to host championships will need to submit additional documentation to prove they won’t discriminate, and the NCAA suggested it will review each selection on a case-by-case basis.
But that did little to placate those who wished for a full repeal of HB2.
“The NCAA’s decision has put a seal of approval on state-sanctioned discrimination,” Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, told NBC News.
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