ACC pulls neutral site championship games from NC over HB2

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The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) announced Wednesday it will move all neutral site championship games out of North Carolina for the 2016-2017 academic year over HB2.

Statement 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.”

During the 2016-17 school year, the ACC had scheduled 10 championship events at neutral sites across North Carolina:

  • Women’s soccer: Nov. 4-6 in Cary at WakeMed Soccer Park
  • Football: Dec. 3, at Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium
  • Men’s swimming and diving: Feb. 15-18 at Greensboro Aquatic Center
  • Women’s swimming and diving: Feb. 22-25 at Greensboro Aquatic Center
  • Women’s basketball: March 1-5 at Greensboro Coliseum
  • Men’s and women’s tennis: April 26-30 at Cary Tennis Park
  • Women’s golf: April 21-23 at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro
  • Men’s golf: April 21-23 at the Old North State Club in New London, NC
  • Baseball: May 23-28, where the Durham Bulls Athletic Park is year three of a four-year contract to host the games

The announcement comes just days after the NCAA pulled seven championship events from North Carolina, including opening-weekend men's basketball tournament games, for the coming year due to a state law that some say can lead to discrimination against LGBT people. 

Related: NCAA pulls 7 postseason events out of NC due to LGBT law

Related: How the NCAA cancellations could cost North Carolina

Governor Pat McCrory released the following statement regarding the ACC's recent decision on 2016-17 championship events:

"The issue of redefining gender and basic norms of privacy will be resolved in the near future in the United States court system for not only North Carolina, but the entire nation. I strongly encourage all public and private institutions to both respect and allow our nation’s judicial system to proceed without economic threats or political retaliation toward the 22 states that are currently challenging government overreach."

The NC Values Coalition released the following statement on ACC and State Senator Tamara Barringer's Call to repeal HB2:

"Today there are too many politicians willing to abandon their closely held beliefs and principles in the face of adversity. People want leaders who will stand up for what is right. How much is it worth to prevent the sexual assault of one little girl in a public bathroom or locker room? That is the question that State Senator Tamara Barringer ought to ask herself. North Carolina has stopped a dangerous local government trend to sacrifice the safety, dignity, and privacy of our children in public bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers just to advance a progressive sexual agenda. The ACC and NCAA announcements are an attempt to force the State of North Carolina to sacrifice our children’s safety on the altar of political correctness, and legislators who voted to stop this trend should think twice before they abandon our children." - Tami Fitzgerald, Executive Director of NC Values Coalition

In July, the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced it was moving the 2017 All-Star Game out of the state because of HB2. 

Related: All-Star Game leaving Charlotte cripples local business

"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."

In a joint statement, Chancellor Randy Woodson for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Chancellor Carol L, Folt for NC State University, said that they "appreciate the Council of Presidents’ reaffirmation of the ACC’s strong commitment to diversity and inclusion" and the decision to keep ACC championship contests, "on their campuses." However they said regret that the "decision will negatively affect many North Carolinians."