March Madness in South Carolina?


Bon Secours Wellness Arena

Conor Coleman, Sports Section Editor

The House Bill 2 or HB2 is an act passed in North Carolina. This act states that people must use the bathroom associated with the sex that they were born. If a man or woman associate their gender differently, they are not allowed to use the bathroom that they associate with. The law, commonly known as the “bathroom bill,” was deemed discriminatory by LGBT groups. Based on the NCAA’s commitment to fairness and inclusion, the Association has relocated all six previously awarded championship events from North Carolina during the 2016-17 academic year. The NCAA Board of Governors made this decision because of the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.  This has caused controversy in the state of North Carolina and have resulted in the relocation of many sporting events such as the NBA All Star Weekend, NCAA soccer, golf, tennis, lacrosse, baseball, and basketball regional and championship games.

After the removal of the Confederate flag above the South Carolina State House, the NCAA was extremely interested in having the state host different tournament games in both Columbia and Greenville. As a result, the state of South Carolina won the bid for hosting 1st and 2nd round NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament games. The games will be held in Greenville, South Carolina and hosted by Furman University. “What a great opportunity for Furman, the Southern Conference and the city of Greenville,” Furman athletic director Mike Buddie told ESPN. “Our ultimate goal is to get future bids for 2019 and beyond and be in the regular rotation.”  “Geography played a huge role in this decision,” the NCAA’s Dan Gavitt told ESPN. “Greenville is only 190 miles from Greensboro. All of the other options didn’t offer that geographic balance. That had a significant role.”

The games will be played at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. The arena holds about 14,000 people, and was the home court of the Clemson Tigers while they were constructing Littlejohn Coliseum. The NCAA is not concerned about the arena not selling out, because Greenville is right in the middle of both SEC and ACC country. This year’s tournament games will be only the third time the NCAA has chosen South Carolina to host the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The first was in 1970 in Columbia, while and the last was in 2002 in Greenville. It will be interesting to see if the state of South Carolina will receive more NCAA Tournament bids in the near future.