Hitching the Wagons: NCAA’s Actions Divisive, Not Visionary


The ranks of the North Carolina boycotters grew, this week.

The Atlantic Coast Conference became the latest athletic body to protest the state’s passing of House Bill 2, legislation that is viewed as discriminatory to the LGBT community.

On Wednesday, the organization announced it would be re-locating the sites for its conference championships. Seven sports are affected, from tennis to the 2016 ACC Football Championship game.

The announcement comes, on the heels of the NCAA’s decision to pull some of its own events – including the division-1, men’s basketball tournament. For a region synonymous with college hoops, that loss stings with particular venom.

Planning for these events takes months of careful planning and scheduling. Moving them is nothing short of a logistical nightmare. But, clearly, the NCAA and the ACC felt that this was one of those times in history when social consciousness trumps practicality.

Was it the right decision? That answer is more complicated.

To begin with, I am not saying that I support HB2 in any capacity. I am not in favor of any law that violates the personal rights of any American citizen.

What disturbs me is the prevailing attitude of the times, the “hitch the wagons” mentality. If we don’t agree with your principles, then we’re out of here. We’re done with you. To me, that’s the message these moves send. It’s not a protest; it’s an exodus.

Sports and civil rights have long walked side by side, throughout history. Why not use these events as an opportunity to cast a spotlight injustice? To show that communities are not defined by the borders they live in, but rather the constituents who inhabit them?

To me, stripping North Carolina of these events sends the wrong message. It also sets the “my way or the highway” precedent for future controversies. Tow the line or we’re out.

The same mentality has infiltrated many aspects of today’s society. It’s why the divorce rate is higher than it’s ever been. It’s why polarizing individuals get nominated for political positions. It’s why millennials can’t stay at one job for an extended length of time.

On a smaller scale, there is also the economical aspect to consider. It would take days to tally up the ripple-down effect these moves will have on local businesses, hotels, gas stations and stadiums, to mention a few. What about the vendors, janitors and stewards of these establishments? Should their livelihood suffer as well? And, to what point?

Again, it’s a laudable stance for the NCAA and ACC to take. But, in my opinion, it’s also an ill-considered course of action.

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