GREENSBORO, N.C. – Following in the wake of the NCAA announcing it would pull all championship sporting events from North Carolina over the controversial House Bill 2, the ACC announced Wednesday they would remove all neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year from the state
Included in those sporting events is the ACC Championship Game, which has been held in Charlotte annually since the 2010 season.
The ACC Council of Presidents released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
“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.”
ACC Commissioner John Swofford says the decision is “one of principle,” and that hopefully North Carolina will have the opportunity to host neutral site championships beyond 2016-17.
“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.”
Neutral site championships held by the ACC include the following sports:
- Women’s Soccer
- Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving
- Women’s Basketball
- Men’s and Women’s Tennis
- Women’s Golf
- Men’s Golf
Opponents of the bill stood behind the decision to remove championship events from the state.
"In standing up for LGBTQ equality, the ACC, the NCAA, and the NBA are all standing on the right side of history. Governor McCrory and state lawmakers should work swiftly to repeal HB2 and bring back championship games to North Carolina," said Human Rights Council President Chad Griffin. "The fact that Governor McCrory and other lawmakers continue to play politics with discrimination is inexcusable, enormously costly, and simply wrong. The people of North Carolina deserve better and have a chance to make their voices heard November 8."
"Yesterday it was the NCAA. Last month it was the NBA. Today, the ACC - home conference to many of our beloved teams - will take their marquis events out of North Carolina,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. “It has never been more clear than it is right now - HB2 is hurting our state every minute that it remains law. It's hurting our people, our reputation, and our economy. I'm calling on Pat McCrory today - accept responsibility for the legislation you signed. It's crystal clear that HB2 is bad for us. Stop playing the blame game and clean up this mess you've made of our state, because we cannot afford to wait any longer."
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