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NC House Bill 2 affects Duke’s basketball nonconference schedule

Tribune News Service • Jul 14, 2016 at 3:30 PM

Duke released its nonconference basketball schedule Wednesday, but it still isn’t completely set due to North Carolina’s House Bill 2, the law that limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people.

Duke was originally scheduled to host Albany on Nov. 12 in Cameron Indoor Stadium as part of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament, according to a May 4 press release. However, due to a New York state ban on nonessential publicly funded travel to North Carolina, Albany will not be coming. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued the ban March 29.

Holly Liapis, a spokesperson for the State University of New York (SUNY) system, to which Albany belongs, confirmed the school would not be traveling to Durham due to HB2.

“The State University of New York supports Governor Cuomo’s executive order banning all non-essential travel to the state of North Carolina, and we instructed our campuses to immediately review any existing travel plans by faculty and staff,” Liapis said in an emailed statement. “SUNY and its campuses continue to support the Governor on taking this stand.”

HB2 is best known for requiring transgender people in government facilities to use bathrooms matching the gender on their birth certificates, and it sets a statewide definition of protected classes of citizens from discrimination that doesn’t include sexual orientation and gender identity.

The U.S. Department of Justice is currently suing North Carolina over HB2 on the grounds that it is discriminatory and violates federal law. Gov. Pat McCrory, and state Republican House and Senate leaders have filed suits against the Department of Justice.

Wednesday morning, Duke released a nonconference schedule that featured a Nov. 12 game against Marist, a private school in New York that would not be subject to the state travel ban. But an hour later, Duke issued a corrected schedule that listed the Nov. 12 game opponent as TBA.

“The Hall of Fame is currently working with the other schools involved in the tournament to reschedule the campus round games, so that each school has the two guaranteed home games that they are contracted to have in the November event,” said Greg Procino, the vice president of basketball operations at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “The tournament schedule had been in place for about a year, so this was an unexpected turn of events.”

The highlights of Duke’s nonconference schedule include a Champions Classic game against Kansas in Madison Square Garden (Nov. 15), another trip to the Garden to play Florida (Dec. 6), an ACC/Big 10 challenge home game against Michigan State (Nov. 29) and the first meeting against UNLV since the 1991 Final Four. The game against the Runnin’ Rebels will take place in Las Vegas on Dec. 10.

Laura Keeley

The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)—

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