Could Chattanooga gain from a Southern Conference boycott of North Carolina?
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The Southern Conference will discuss joining the athletic boycott of North Carolina over their controversial LGBT law.
The prize is the annual basketball tournament held in Asheville.
It they make the move, could Chattanooga be in the running to snag the tournament?
News 12’s Valeria Sistrunk asked local sports facility officials.
Southern Conference commissioner, John Iamarino has hinted that the men and women’s basketball tournaments in the collegiate sports league might soon be moved, but not everyone agrees with that idea.
“We would surely like to take a look and see if it’s available, and see if it’s a good fit for Chattanooga and for Finley.”
Executive Director of Finley Stadium, Paul Smith says if the Southern Conference decides to move the men’s and women’s collegiate basketball tournaments from Asheville North Carolina, our city would be more than happy to welcome them with open arms…
“Bringing in those schools, and those events to Chattanooga it obviously encourages tourism, gives us some notoriety.”
Comments were made from SOCON officials suggesting the games could be moved just one day after the NCAA pulled seven championship events out of North Carolina because of the law requiring transgender people to use bathrooms matching the sex on their birth certificate.
“The greed side of me says, ‘Oh Boy! Let’s go to Chattanooga instead of going to Ashville,’ but that’s not the issue.”
State Senator Todd Gardenhire says of course he would love to see the tournaments come to our city, but doesn’t necessarily agree with the reason behind the move.
“They’re saying if North Carolina doesn’t change their law, we’re going to move out of that–not have our championship games there anymore. That’s extortion, no matter how you put it. That should not even be an issue. It should be: where is the best venue to have a championship game?”
SOCON officials say upcoming meetings with athletic administrators next month could result in the tournament being moved, but it’s still too early to know exactly where they’ll be playing in the future.
“We’ll sit down with the sports committee and look at the viability of the event, the dates, and see if it’s a good fit and if we have a realistic chance of landing it and then make the decision on how to proceed.”