North Carolina will lose out on NCAA championship events through 2022 if legislators don’t address House Bill 2 within 48 hours, a leading Raleigh sports event recruiter said Tuesday.
“I have confirmed with a contact very close to the NCAA that its deadline for HB2 is 48 hours from now,” said Scott Dupree, who leads the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, which recruits NCAA and other sporting events to Raleigh. “If HB2 has not been resolved by that time, the NCAA will have no choice but to move forward without the North Carolina bids.”
“The NCAA has already delayed the bid review process once and has waited as long as it possibly can, and now it must finalize all championship site selections through spring of 2022.”
Dupree’s comment, issued at noon Tuesday, adds urgency to the NCAA’s statement last week reminding legislators that the deadline is approaching.
“Absent any change in the law, our position remains the same regarding hosting current or future events in the state,” the NCAA said Thursday in a statement posted to Twitter and emailed to news media. “As the state knows, next week our various sports committees will begin making championship site selections for 2018-2022 based upon bids received from across the country. … Those decisions are final and an announcement of all sites will be made on April 18.”
No HB2-related bills were on the legislature’s calendar for this week. Until last week, Republicans were negotiating with Democrats and Gov. Roy Cooper to find a repeal compromise that would win support from a bipartisan majority of House lawmakers.
Last Thursday, House Speaker Tim Moore said the bipartisan compromise measure was “dead,” but he said House and Senate Republicans are working on new legislation to change HB2.
Moore said Monday night that GOP lawmakers are still discussing draft legislation, which hasn’t been finalized or filed yet.
“The talks continue about compromise,” he told reporters. “Those conversations continue to occur, and we’ll see if it actually results in anything.”
Asked if he expects a bill to be introduced this week, Moore didn’t set a timeline. “We’re going to move at a pace that we need to,” he said.
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, a Republican and vocal supporter of HB2, sent a letter to legislators this week urging them to oppose any changes to the law – including the measure Republicans are considering.
Forest said he’s “deeply troubled” that lawmakers “seem to be reacting to the demands and timetables of an unaccountable, out-of-state organization (NCAA), not elected by the people, to enforce a radical policy change.”
“I fear that if our General Assembly succumbs to this new form of economic and corporate extortion, we will be establishing a precedent,” he added.
It’s unclear if the proposal legislative Republicans are considering would satisfy the NCAA’s concerns about HB2.