When Texas officials unveiled a bill Thursday that would require people to use some bathrooms corresponding with their genders at birth, it drew unavoidable comparisons to a similar law passed last year in North Carolina. It also raised the prospect of a new confrontation with college sports officials and professional sports leagues, which pulled several prominent competitions from North Carolina in light of its law and now could face pressure to back away from one of the country’s largest and most sports-mad states.
The North Carolina law, known as House Bill 2 or HB2, curbed anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, leading to protests, boycotts and criticism from business interests in the state.
The Texas bill, which was revealed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at a news conference on Thursday, is known as Senate Bill 6. It would require transgender people to use bathrooms in government buildings and public schools and universities based on their “biological sex,” overruling any contrary local rules. While it faces similar pushback from business groups, the bill has the support of the state’s attorney general.
North Carolina’s law had significant consequences for sports in that state. Its passage prompted the N.B.A. to withdraw this season’s All-Star Game from Charlotte; led the N.C.A.A. to move all of its playoff games in several sports — including first- and second-round games in its most prominent event, the Division I men’s basketball tournament — out of the state; and compelled the Atlantic Coast Conference to relocate several championships, including one in football.
Texas could face similar actions should the bill pass.
Most notably, Houston is set to host the Super Bowl on Feb. 5. It is almost impossible for the N.F.L. to move the sports world’s single biggest annual event, which is planned years in advance and involves millions of dollars in commitments, on such short notice. But the N.F.L. has penalized host cities before.
In 1990, the league voted to hold the 1993 Super Bowl in Arizona, but after state lawmakers refused to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day an official state holiday, the game was moved to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. In 1992, Arizona reversed course and recognized the holiday, and the state has hosted several Super Bowls since.
The N.F.L. has already awarded additional Super Bowl hosting rights through 2021; none of those games is scheduled to be played in Texas.
Aside from the Football Championship Subdivision title game, which features James Madison against Youngstown State on Saturday in Frisco, Tex., the N.C.A.A. has a little more time to consider what to do with its events. Those include this season’s women’s basketball Final Four, which is set for early spring in Dallas, and next season’s men’s Final Four, currently scheduled for the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Following the North Carolina controversy, the N.C.A.A. recently began quizzing current and prospective host cities, asking them “to specifically outline how they will protect participants and spectators from discrimination,” including details on how they would mitigate any local discriminatory laws or rules that permit the refusal of services to members of any group. The N.C.A.A. did not comment Thursday.
One of the justifications the N.C.A.A. cited for its decision to remove its championship events from North Carolina was the fact that at least five states — New York, Minnesota, Washington, Vermont and Connecticut — had banned state employees and representatives from some travel to North Carolina.
Like the North Carolina-based A.C.C., which moved some of its championships out of the state, the Texas-based Big 12 is a major conference that could now face similar decisions. The Big 12 is set to stage its first football championship game in several years in December at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, and it holds championships for a variety of other sports in Texas.
“We will track the bill’s progress through the Legislature, and at an appropriate time discuss its impact with our member institutions,” a Big 12 spokesman said Thursday.