Even if Duke earns a No. 1 seed in the 2017 NCAA men's basketball tournament, it will no longer have the chance to play any postseason games close to home.
The NCAA announced Monday evening it will move first- and second-round basketball games as well as events in six other sports out of North Carolina due to the state's controversial House Bill 2, which eliminates protections for LGBTQ people.
On Oct. 7, the NCAA announced new locations for the events, moving the first- and second-round basketball games to Greenville, S.C.
“We agree with the NCAA’s decision. Our position has been clear on this matter, which is that this legislation is discriminatory, troubling and embarrassing," said Kevin White, vice president and director of athletics, in a statement. "We deplore any efforts to deprive individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, of legal protection and rights. We will always be committed to diversity and inclusion, and applaud any efforts to ensure that those values are protected and enacted at all times, and in all places in the state of North Carolina.”
This season will mark the first time since 1985 that no ACC tournament or NCAA tournament games will be played in North Carolina in men's basketball. The ACC tournament was already scheduled to be in New York this season, the first time it has ever stayed out of North Carolina for two straight years.
HB2 also had an effect on the Blue Devils' regular-season schedule, when Albany had to cancel an early-season trip to Durham because of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive order banning non-essential travel to North Carolina. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski previously called the bill "embarrassing."
The NCAA's decision may also affect the Blue Devils in women's soccer, women's lacrosse and women's golf.
Duke women's soccer lost the College Cup final last season in Cary, N.C., and the College Cup was set to return to WakeMed Soccer Park this season, with the Blue Devils expected to be a contender to reach the national semifinals again. But the NCAA moved the event fewer than three months before the College Cup kicks off, with a new location yet to be determined.
The NCAA announced Oct. 7 that the event will move to San Jose, Calif.
Duke women's lacrosse advanced to the Final Four in 2015 before being bounced in the second round by North Carolina last spring. If the Blue Devils do make it back to the Final Four in 2017, they too will not be able to enjoy the friendly confines of WakeMed stadium in Cary, N.C., with the NCAA's decision, and will instead have to travel to Boston.
The No. 5 Duke women's golf team will not have its NCAA championship location moved because of House Bill 2, though the Blue Devils will not be able to stay in North Carolina for NCAA regional play. The regional at Ironwood Golf and Country Club in Greenville, N.C., will be moved to Athens, Ga.
The ACC announced Wednesday afternoon that it too would pull neutral site conference championship events out of the state for women's soccer, football, men's and women's swimming and diving, women's basketball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's golf and baseball.
On Oct. 4, the conference announced new sites for several of the sports, and the new locations included cities in South Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky. The full list can be found here. More than a week later, the league announced Oct. 12 that the ACC women's basketball tournament will be held at Coastal Carolina in Conway, S.C. The news was first reported by Steve Wiseman of The Durham Herald-Sun.
Events at held at individual schools will not be affected by House Bill 2.
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