Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve been inundated with the saga of North Carolina’s HB2, also known as the bathroom bill, which requires people to use the public accommodation that matched the gender listed on their birth certificate (in state run facilities – private establishments were still free to set their own rules). It should also be noted that there is a legal process by which one changes the gender on your birth certificate – however, North Carolina (and other states) require that a person actually undergo the gender reassignment surgery in order to change their gender. This seems to be what has set off the transgender lobby, the argument being that people who are “transitioning” may no longer look like a member of the sex they were born into, although they haven’t undergone a surgery that would permit them to amend their birth certificate. For the sake of this article, we’re not even going to address these issues.. We are going to focus on what happened, how, and why.
First, let’s review how HB2 came to be. It was an election year (2016), and the Democrats thought that they could win North Carolina. Governor Pat McCrory was polling well, though. He was (and is) a nice guy, generally well regarded on a personal level, and all the economic markers that people talk about in election years were looking good for McCrory. The Democrats needed something. GOP reforms to the North Carolina grant system had left them hurting for cash. They needed an issue, so they decided to manufacture one. Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the Charlotte City Council were eager to help. They passed an anti-discrimination ordinance requiring everybody within their jurisdiction to permit people to use the bathroom of their choosing – churches, schools, businesses. There was no way out. The Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly could not let this stand, and passed HB2 before the Charlotte Ordinance could take affect. Pat McCrory, being an unusually nice guy and knowing that this was nothing but a way for the Democrats to create an issue, reluctantly signed the law knowing that the General Assembly would override a veto. But boy, did it ever work out for the Democrats. Not only did they mobilize an army of rabid social justice warriors, but courtesy of Wikileaks, we know that they raked in the cash from Yankees.
Almost immediately, businesses started threatening boycotts (as if it was all pre-arranged). But what surprised everybody was when the NCAA decided to interject themselves into it and pull NCAA Championship Events out of North Carolina, and The ACC followed suit not long after. Now, if you’re not from North Carolina, you might not understand why this is a big deal. But around here, college basketball is a big deal. And I don’t mean the Smurfs in Chapel Hill. There is a tremendous amount of collegiate basketball history down Tobacco Road. NC State, Wake Forest, UNC, and Duke were founding members of the ACC, and each of them was a force to be reckoned with on the basketball courts. If you grew up in North Carolina, you undoubtedly remember having teachers cancel class to watch the games during ACC tournament time. It is a huge deal. And the NCAA swooped in and took away the NCAA tournament games from the state. In an election year. And the ACC vowed not to hold the ACC tournament in North Carolina, which was unthinkable. Although this is self serving on the part of the ACC, as John Swofford has done everything in his power to destroy what the ACC was and change it into a soulless monstrosity, the recent ACC tournament in New York City being case in point. But we’re not here to talk about the devil John Swofford.
Pat McCrory lost the Governor’s race in North Carolina by about 10,000 votes (or .2 percent of ballots cast). It is fair to say that the actions of the NCAA and the ACC had an impact on the North Carolina electoral process. And that’s where we get to the heart of the matter. The NCAA (and the ACC) are organized as 501c3 non-profits. This expressly prohibits them from engaging in politicking. In order to be a non-profit engaged in politics, you have to reorganize as a 501c4 non-profit and obey the reporting requirements about where your money comes from, where it goes, and limit your political activities to those expressly relating to your mission. By boycotting North Carolina during a hotly contested election on a matter as near and dear to the hearts of North Carolinians as collegiate athletics, the NCAA crossed a line that should cost them their non-profit status.
And now, the NC General Assembly has capitulated to the demands of an unelected out of state organization regarding what is right for North Carolina. Making law under threat of blackmail is not good public policy. And it’s even worse policy to succumb to the demands of a bunch of Yankees who have probably never even set foot here. The question North Carolinians should be asking right now is, are we free men? Are we in control of our destiny? Did our forebears fight and die for liberty so that a sanctioning body of college athletics could dictate law to us? No. I do not have the words to emphasize what an embarrassment this is to the state to have been given a dictate by an organization, in violation of their expressed charter and US tax law, and meekly give in.
Lt Governor Dan Forest has it right:
“If HB2 was right to begin with, which I believe it was, then why are we repealing it? If it is wrong, then why wait four years to fix it? Such ambiguity undercuts the legitimacy of a law that we have fought so hard to defend. We are yielding the moral high ground and giving in to a new form of corporate extortion from an unaccountable, out of state, non-elected, tax-exempt organization (NCAA) and for what?… a ballgame? Why are we allowing them to dictate to us, laws that govern the protection of our people? We should have the backbone to tell them to take a hike.”