The ACC has decided to move all of its neutral site championships from the state of North Carolina, the conference announced in a statement Wednesday.
“The ACC Council of Presidents made it clear that the core values of this league are of the utmost importance, and the opposition to any form of discrimination is paramount,” commissioner John Swofford said. “Today’s decision is one of principle, and while this decision is the right one, we recognize there will be individuals and communities that are supportive of our values as well as our championship sites that will be negatively affected. Hopefully, there will be opportunities beyond 2016-17 for North Carolina neutral sites to be awarded championships.”
The move comes on the heels of the NCAA yanking its championships out of the state of North Carolina because of House Bill 2 (HB2), a state law that requires transgender people to use public bathrooms that matches the gender on their birth certificates not the gender with which they identify. Critics claim the bill violates the civil rights of members of the LGBTQ community.
Although the NCAA did not mandate the ACC move its championship games, the conference felt it was in its best interest to do so.
“As members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the ACC Council of Presidents reaffirmed our collective commitment to uphold the values of equality, diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination,” the ACC Council of Presidents said in a statement. “Every one of our 15 universities is strongly committed to these values and therefore, we will continue to host ACC Championships at campus sites. We believe North Carolina House Bill 2 is inconsistent with these values, and as a result, we will relocate all neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year. All locations will be announced in the future from the conference office.”
North Carolina is essentially the epicenter of the ACC. The league offices are there and four of the conference’s teams come from that state. Rep. Richard Hudson, who represents the 8th District of North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives, said he intended to look at the ACC and NCAA’s tax-exempt statuses as a result of their actions. The statement was a bit more reasoned than the North Carolina GOP’s statement earlier this week in response to the NCAA.
“This is political theater by the NCAA and ACC,” Hudson’s statement said. “If these multi-million dollar, tax exempt organizations were interested in social change and not making a political statement, they would proceed with their marquee events in North Carolina and enact any transgender bathroom policy they wanted. This blatant political move—less than two months before the election—brings into question their tax exempt status. This is an avenue we intend to explore.”
Eight championships will be moved out of the state of North Carolina, including the football title game, which was to be played at Bank of America Stadium on Dec. 3. The conference had a deal with the city of Charlotte to keep championships there through 2019. According to the Newport News Daily Press, the football championship generates as much as $30 million of economic impact for the city.
While no replacement site has been announced, Jacksonville (2005-07) and Tampa (2008-09) hosted the championship games prior to Charlotte.
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