Vermont Cancels Women's Basketball Game vs. UNC over State's Transgender Law

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2016

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 16: A view of the NCAA logo at center court during a game between the Vermont Catamounts and the North Carolina Tar Heels in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 16, 2012 in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images

The Vermont women's basketball team canceled its December game against North Carolina in Chapel Hill, citing the state's transgender bathroom law.

Vermont athletic director Jeff Schulman added this, per ESPN.com:

The decision to cancel our Dec. 28 women's basketball game at North Carolina was made as a result of concerns over the HB2 law, which prevents transgender people from using government-run bathrooms based on their gender identity.

We strive very hard to create an inclusive climate for our students and staff in which they all can feel safe, respected and valued. It would be hard to fulfill these obligations while competing in a state with this law, which is contrary to our values as an athletic department and university.

Schulman said the school reached the decision after consulting with players, coaches and school officials.

The two programs finalized the original verbal agreement for the game on March 29, just after North Carolina's HB2 law went into effect, according to Alex Abrami and Austin Danforth of the Burlington Free Press (via USA Today).

Vermont then signed a contract one month later, which stipulated North Carolina would pay Vermont $17,500 to make the trip. The Tar Heels were also to foot the bill for 12 hotel rooms and three meals.

Schulman said he discussed playing the game at a neutral location, but North Carolina wasn't interested.

"Those weren't options they were comfortable with. This was not meant to harm UNC or the basketball program or the student-athletes. This was about the law we think is discriminatory toward the transgender community."

Vermont isn't the first team or organization to move a major event from North Carolina in the wake of the transgender law. Albany's men's basketball team canceled a game at Duke scheduled for November, while the NBA moved the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell decried the law in May.

"Anything that discriminates, we oppose," Goodell said, per Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk. "We will continue to fight that. We have a franchise here. The Carolina Panthers play here, they operate here, and we want to work with the community. We're not going to threaten a community. We're going to work with the community to make the effective changes necessary long term."


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.