Controversial law will put UNC, Duke at a disadvantage come March


The NBA All-Star Game and its surrounding festivities took over New Orleans this past weekend just as it was once scheduled to do in Charlotte.

The first two rounds of NCAA tournament games originally scheduled for Greensboro next month will be in Greenville, S.C. instead.

North Carolina lost out on both events because of the law known as House Bill 2, which its supporters say offers protection for women and children in public bathrooms but its critics say writes discrimination into state law.

Mike Krzyzewski is no politician, but the Hall of Fame coach has ties to both college and professional basketball. He coached many of the NBA All-Stars during his time as USA Basketball’s head coach for the last three Olympics.

Like North Carolina coach Roy Williams and NC State’s Mark Gottfried, he’s firmly in the camp that believes HB2 should go so that the sporting events that are fleeing North Carolina can return.

“It’s a dumb thing,” Krzyzewski said last October at the ACC’s Operation Basketball. “HB2 is embarrassing.”

That’s the same sentiment he expressed last summer when talking to reporters in Las Vegas before he headed off to Rio to lead the U.S. team to another gold medal.

The Blue Devils, after struggling in January, have won their last seven games this season. They are now playing well enough that they are in position to receive geographic protection from the NCAA tournament committee.

If HB2 didn’t exist, that would have meant the first two rounds being played at the Greensboro Coliseum 50 miles or so from campus. Instead, the nearest NCAA venue is across the state line in South Carolina about a four-hour drive down Interstate 85.

“I wish the tournament would be here because North Carolina is an amazing sports state, not just basketball-wise,” Krzyzewski said. “We should be a hub, especially for amateur sports. We have so many great schools in our state.”

Yes, in addition to basketball, the state has lost a host of tournaments involving other sports. The ACC Baseball Tournament was moved from the Durham Bulls Athletic Park to Louisville, Ky.

“This state is a great state,” Krzyzewski said. “It’s been hurt by this, not just financially, but image-wise.”