Greenville loses NCAA women’s golf championships due to HB2

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The NCAA Division I women’s golf regional championships were supposed to be played at Ironwood Golf & Country Club in Greenville.

They will now be played outside the state of North Carolina following the NCAA’s decision Monday night to pull seven championship events from the state due to House Bill 2.

“This is about sports that are conducted in the context of universities that are trying to reflect the values of higher education in America,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA president. “Inclusion, fairness, treating all your student athletes, coaches, fans in a way reflects those values.”

The Ironwood golf club had been planning on hosting the regionals for months.

“I think we found out about a year ago, and (what) we started to do is basically a lot of stuff on the golf course,” said John Lamonica, general manager of Ironwood.

But that preparation no longer has any purpose.

“It’s kind of like well you just take a deep breath, and it’s just over with…there’s just nothing to it anymore,” Lamonica said.

Andrew Schmidt, executive director of Greenville-Pitt Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, said the bill has made it more challenging for the city to attract visitors.

“There are certain folks that will not meet with us simply because we’re from North Carolina,” Schmidt said.

The golf championships are not the only event Greenville has lost due to HB2.

“We have lost the USA Ultimate Frisbee championships, which is a non-NCAA sanctioned event,” said Schmidt.

However, Schmidt is confident Greenville with weather the HB2 backlash.

“I think overall our growth will continue,” Schmidt said. “Again, it’s mostly because you know we’ve got a diverse type of portfolio when we go market.”

But he admits “it’ll make it a little more challenging for us.”

The NCAA is just the latest organization that decided to pull events out of North Carolina.

The NBA decided earlier in the summer to move the 2017 NBA All-Star game from Charlotte, and numerous artists have canceled their concerts, citing the controversial law.

The Atlantic Coast Conference is also on the clock to decide whether it will relocate its championship.

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