The Duke Blue Devils have an opening for a game on Nov. 12, part of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament, due to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order banning publicly funded, nonessential travel to North Carolina over anti-LGBT HB2 law. He also banned travel to Mississippi over anti-LGBT laws.
The schedule was released on Wednesday. Duke would have played Albany, which is part of the State University of New York system. Holly Liapis, a spokeswoman for the SUNY system, confirmed to ESPN that the decision came as a result of the executive order, which they support.
“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 a statement. “SUNY and its campuses continue to support the Governor on taking this stand.”
“It’s most unfortunate. As an institution, if not personally, we have gone on the record indicating that our state position on this [HB2] is very troubling, if not embarrassing,” Duke athletic director Kevin White told ESPN.
Tournament officials are tasked with finding a replacement. Marist is the likely opponent, ESPN reports. They were initially listed as such on Nov. 12 when it was first realized Albany was pulling out, but an hour later the schedule was re-released without an opponent in the spot.
“The tournament schedule had been in place for about a year, so this was an unexpected turn of events,” said Greg Procino, vice president of basketball operations for the Hall of Fame in a statement. “The Hall of Fame is currently working with the other schools involved in the tournament to reschedule the campus round games.”
The NCAA has stated that they would begin considering LGBT rights when it comes to making decisions about tournament host cities.
The NBA is still determining whether they will hold the 2017 All Star game in Charlotte over their disapproval of HB2.