College basketball is getting political in the Tar Heel state.
It started with Mike Krzyzewski on Saturday, who spoke with reporters after his return to the sidelines against Pitt. While making a larger point about how a headline or a tweet fails to give the context or provide a big-picture look at all that is going on – he was specifically referencing a story about how he revoked his team’s access to the locker room and their ability to wear Duke-issued team gear – he took a little swipe at our Commander-in-Chief.
“”We’re in such a line-item society, a Twitter world, so when one thing happens, that’s the story,” Coach K said. “It’s a good thing leaders don’t lead that way. I hope they don’t; I know one uses Twitter a lot.”
Roy Williams followed that up on Sunday by ripping the “ridiculous” HB2 law that taken the NCAA tournament about of North Carolina this season.
“You know, I’m glad that some people in Greensboro got to see us play,” Williams said, referencing the fact that North Carolina’s game against Notre Dame this weekend was postponed from Saturday evening in Chapel Hill to Sunday afternoon in Greensboro Coliseum due to a water emergency in the area this weekend. Prior to the season, the NCAA revoked the state’s NCAA tournament games for this season. Coach K has previously called the law “embarrassing.”
“I’m glad we were able to take a game here because of that stupid rule that we have in our state that took a lot of great opportunities for people in our state, and great athletes that like to do things in our state. I shouldn’t say rule, I guess it’s a law. A law’s more important than a rule, I guess. But I just think that’s ridiculous, and what it’s doing to our state and the reputation of our state.”
And the irony is that it may be a farewell to basketball in Greensboro Coliseum, at least for the foreseeable future. According to a letter sent to state legislators by the North Carolina Sports Association, the NCAA is nearing a decision that would remove all cities within the state’s borders from consideration for hosting NCAA tournament games until 2022. The NCAA already pulled the 2017 NCAA tournament from the state and relocated it to South Carolina for this season. The ACC removed the conference title game in football from the state for the same reason, and it’s reasonable to think that the conference will do the same with the 2019 and 2020 conference tournaments, which are scheduled to be played in Charlotte and Greensboro, respectively.
Without diving into the issues that surround the actual politics of North Carolina, let’s just say that efforts to repeal the law in the state have been thus far unsuccessful.
“In a matter of days, our state’s sports tourism industry will suffer crushing, long-term losses and will essentially close its doors to NCAA business,” the letter read. “Our window to act is closing rapidly.”