The NCAA is expected to announce Friday which site will be awarded early round games of the 2017 NCAA men’s basketball tournament that were stripped from North Carolina because of state legislation viewed as discriminatory, and the Times Union Center is in the running.
New York public officials — including U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, Congressman Paul Tonko and Gov. Andrew Cuomo — have lobbied for the games to be played in Albany. Times Union Center general manager Bob Belber said Thursday he has no advance word of what decision the NCAA will make.
“They are staying mum until they announce their decision,” Belber said.
The NCAA on Sept. 12 pulled a seven championships from North Carolina — including the first two rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in Greensboro — because of North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which restricts transgender bathroom access and has been widely criticized as limiting the civil rights of the LGBT community.
The NCAA’s move was not totally unexpected. The NBA had already pulled its 2017 All-Star Game because of the legislation. Bruce Springsteen and other artists, in addition to business conventions, have canceled coming to North Carolina. New York State banned unnecessary travel to North Carolina — resulting in the University at Albany canceling its basketball game at Cameron Indoor Stadium against Duke.
The Times Union Center already has a bid in for the first rounds of the men’s basketball tournament for 2018-21. The Times Union Center, while open and operational, is in the midst of the $19.6 million refurbishment that includes enclosing the front atrium and back entrance and expanding the media area. The facelift of the facility going on 26 years is taking place in large part to draw NCAA tournaments.
In addition to the basketball tournament, the NCAA also pulled from North Carolina are the Division I and III women’s soccer championships, the Division III men’s soccer championship, the Division I women’s golf regional, the Division III men’s and women’s tennis championships, the Division I women’s lacrosse championship and the Division II baseball championship.
The Times Union Center hosted the men’s tournament in 1995 and 2003
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Categories: College Sports, News, Sports