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NC Bathroom Law Prompts Albany Cancellation of Duke Game

SUNY-Albany is taking its ball and going home.

The state university announced on Wednesday the cancellation of a game against Duke University scheduled for November 12 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The school cites an executive order issued by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo forbidding non-essential travel to the Tar Heel State as the rationale for the refusal to play.

North Carolina’s House Bill 1 restricts multiple-person restrooms in public buildings to persons of the biological sex designated on the entrances. Cuomo issued an order restricting state travel to both North Carolina and Mississippi.

A March 28 order by the governor directed state “agencies, departments, boards, authorities and commissions to review all requests for state funded or state sponsored travel to the state of North Carolina so long as there is law in effect there that creates the grounds for discrimination against LGBT citizens” and “bar any such publicly funded or publicly sponsored travel to such location, unless such travel is necessary for the enforcement of New York State law, to meet prior contractual obligations, or for the protection of public health, welfare, and safety.”

Though “prior contractual obligations” seems to apply to competing in a previously scheduled tournament in Durham, North Carolina, SUNY administrators appear especially eager to pull the Great Danes from playing in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off event.

“The State University of New York supports Governor Cuomo’s executive order banning all non-essential travel to the state of North Carolina,” SUNY flack Holly Liapsis told the Durham Herald-Sun in a statement. “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.”

Duke released its schedule on Wednesday, and the November 12 date lists “TBA” under the field “opponent.” The school plays Kansas and Florida in New York City this season.

Albany loses more than Duke in the boycott. Though the team made the NCAA tournament in three of the last four seasons, they play in the unheralded America East Conference and draw small audiences at home. A game against Duke gives the mid-major national exposure and a bigger box office than they normally enjoy on their best day. Duke boasts five times as many national championships as total tournament wins counted by Albany, which emerged victorious in a play-in game in 2014.

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