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NCAA Pulls Seven Championships Out of North Carolina Over HB2

The state has been a frequent host of NCAA men's basketball tournament games.
Image: The tip-off between the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles and the North Carolina Tar Heels
RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 17: A general view of the the tip-off between the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles and the North Carolina Tar Heels during the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena on March 17, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

The NCAA announced Monday evening it would pull seven championship tournament games out of North Carolina because of a controversial state law that critics say is discriminatory to the LGBT community.

"Based on the NCAA's commitment to fairness and inclusion, the Association will relocate all seven previously awarded championship events from North Carolina during the 2016-17 academic year," the NCAA said in a statement.

The organization said "current North Carolina state laws" don't align with its commitment to "promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans."

The state, a bastion of basketball fandom, has been a frequent host of NCAA men's basketball tournament games. In all, North Carolina has hosted 251 men's tournament games since 1951 — the most of any state, according to the NCAA.

The loss of the games will likely take a financial toll on the state. Artists, businesses and other groups have already boycotted North Carolina over the law, HB2, which was signed into law by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory earlier this year.

The law already cost the state the 2017 NBA All-Star game, which had been slated to take place in Charlotte.

Related: NBA Pulls All-Star Game Out of Charlotte Over Transgender Bathroom Law HB2

The law requires transgender people to use restrooms at schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. It also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from local and statewide anti-discrimination protections.

McCrory hadn't said anything publicly about the NCAA's decision, but a spokeswoman with the state Republican party said the move was "so absurd it's almost comical."

"I genuinely look forward to the NCAA merging all men's and women's teams together as singular, unified, unisex teams," said the spokeswoman, Kami Mueller.

Related: Major Corporations Join Fight Against North Carolina's 'Bathroom Bill'

The new location of the seven championships has not been announced. And the NCAA might not be the only sporting events in need of a new home. Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford — whose league hosts many sporting events in the state, including its football championship game — said Monday that the ACC's council of presidents were set to discuss the law at a previously scheduled meeting later this week.

While Swofford it would be "premature" to make any decisions about holding events in North Carolina for now, he also issued a clear statement against the law."On a personal note," Swofford said, "it's time for this bill to be repealed as its counter to basic human rights."