NY colleges shun Duke over NC bathroom bill

A New York college is refusing to play the Duke University men’s basketball team this year in support of a gubernatorial edict protesting North Carolina’s transgender “bathroom bill.”

The University at Albany Great Danes will no longer play as scheduled in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Tip Off Tournament, which is being hosted by the Duke Blue Devils in Durham, North Carolina this November, Syracuse.com reports.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo (D) banned non-essential “state funded or state sponsored travel” to North Carolina after the state passed House Bill 2 in March, making it illegal for men to use a public women’s restroom and vice versa. LGBT activists say the law unfairly discriminates against the transgender community.

Albany is a member of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, which includes other Division I basketball teams like Stony Brook, Binghamton, and Buffalo. As a SUNY school, it is subject to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ban on state-sponsored travel to North Carolina, though Cuomo’s order does grant an exemption for travel that is necessary to meet “prior contractual obligations.”

“The tournament schedule had been in place for about a year, so this was an unexpected turn of events,” Greg Procino, vice president of basketball operations for the Naismith Hall of Fame, told USA Today.

The Herald-Sun of Durham first noticed the change when Albany’s slot opened in the tournament schedule, and SUNY spokesperson Holly Liapis subsequently confirmed the decision in an email to Campus Reform.

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

The private Syracuse University, a prominent name in New York college sports and a member of the North Carolina-based Atlantic Coast Conference, will continue playing in the state, but a game that had been scheduled between Duke and Marist College, another private school, has also disappeared from the tournament schedule, according to The Herald-Sun.

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