Duke Got Burned By North Carolina's HB2 Bathroom Law

By Ty Duffy

The South Carolina Gamecocks upset Duke 88-81 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils (No. 2) were the higher seed, but they were at a significant disadvantage playing in Greenville, South Carolina. It was a de facto home game for the Gamecocks.

This round of games was initially scheduled for Greensboro, North Carolina (less than an hour drive from Duke’s campus). The NCAA moved it from the state in response to North Carolina’s HB2 Bathroom Law, which required transgender people to use the bathrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates.

The NCAA lifted its boycott of South Carolina in 2015 after the state removed the Confederate flag from its State House.

We can’t say whether a change in venue would have altered the result. Duke provided its fair share of disappointment this season. But, it certainly compounded Duke’s difficulty.

An effort to overturn the law in December failed. In February, the NCAA notified North Carolina it may exclude the state from hosting NCAA events through 2022.