- Getty Images/Grant Halverson
The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Wednesday it would relocate all eight championship events scheduled in North Carolina this academic year, delivering another blow to the state because of its controversial law that critics say discriminates against LGBT people.
North Carolina’s law, known as House Bill 2, prevents local governments from passing nondiscrimination ordinances for LGBT people, and bars transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. The Republican-backed legislation was signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory in March.
The ACC Council of Presidents said in a statement that the law conflicts with the conference’s values of “equality, diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination.”
In another statement, ACC Commissioner John Swofford called the decision “one of principle”:
“The core values of this league are of the utmost importance, and the opposition to any form of discrimination is paramount. 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.”
- Mike Theiler/Reuters
Among the title games pulled is the lucrative ACC championship football game, held annually at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium since 2010. Last year’s championship had an economic impact of more than $30 million, according to The Charlotte Observer.
The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, a conference of mostly North Carolina-based historically black colleges that plays in the NCAA’s Division II, has not announced whether it will move any of the 10 championships scheduled to be played in the state this year. The conference’s annual basketball tournament, held in Charlotte, generated more than $55 million last year, according to a conference press release.
McCrory and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest both fired back at the NCAA on Tuesday in harshly worded statements. McCrory suggested the decision was an act of “political retaliation” and referred to the NCAA as a “tax-exempt monopoly.” Forest, meanwhile, accused the organization of pushing a “progressive sexual agenda.”
Read the statements:
From the ACC Council of Presidents:
“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. 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.”
From Clemson University President James P. Clements, chair of the ACC Council of Presidents:
“The ACC presidents engaged in a constructive, wide-ranging and vigorous discussion of this complex issue over the past two days. The decision to move the neutral site championships out of North Carolina while HB 2 remains the law was not an easy one but it is consistent with the shared values of inclusion and non-discrimination at all of our institutions.”
From ACC Commissioner John Swofford:
“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. 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.”