ACC Pulls Championship Games Out of North Carolina

     (CN) — The Atlantic Coast Conference of the NCAA said Wednesday that it move all of its neutral site championships from North Carolina in protest of the state’s discriminatory bathroom law.
     “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,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said.
     The decision comes on the heels of the NCAA moving its championships out of the North Carolina because of House Bill 2, a law that requires transgender people to use public bathrooms that matches the gender on their birth certificates rather than their gender identity.
     Critics claim the bill violates the civil rights of members of the LGBT community. And it’s costly for North Carolina: a report by UCLA think tank the Williams Institute estimated this past May that HB2 could cost the state $5 billion a year in federal funding, lost tourism revenue and reduced business investment.
     “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,” Swofford said. “Hopefully, there will be opportunities beyond 2016-17 for North Carolina neutral sites to be awarded championships.”
     While the NCAA did not require the ACC to move its championship games, the conference decided 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 nondiscrimination,” the council 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.”
     The ACC’s league offices are in North Carolina, and four of the conference’s teams are in the state.
     Eight championships will be moved out of the state, including a football title game that was scheduled to be played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on Dec. 3. The ACC had a deal with Charlotte to keep championships there through 2019.
     According to the Newport News Daily Press, the football championship generates as much as $30 million for the city.
     While no decision on a replacement site has been announced, Jacksonville and Tampa, both in Florida, hosted the championship games prior to Charlotte.

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