ACC moves all neutral-site championships from NC due to H.B. 2

ACC follows NCAAs decision to move all championships out of NC.

Christine T. Nguyen—North State Journal
Clemson catcher Chris Okey (25) holds up the ACC Baseball Championship trophy following their 18-13 win over Florida State on Sunday

After the NCAA announced earlier this week it would move all tournament games from the state of North Carolina, the ACC is following suit.The ACC Council of Presidents released the following a statement on Wednesday afternoon that it would move all neutral site championships from N.C. due to House Bill 2:”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 also weighed in on the announcement.”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,” 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.”UNC president Margaret Spellings told media Wednesday that she regrets the ACC’s decision.”We appreciate that the ACC shares our commitment to creating an inclusive atmosphere for all, but we regret that today’s decision will penalize affected host communities and fans throughout the state. Intercollegiate sports and the ACC are integral parts of North Carolina’s economy and way of life,” she said in an emailed statement. “As we have said many times, UNC institutions do not discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, and we are fully committed to being open and welcoming to individuals of all backgrounds. We remain caught in the middle of this issue and welcome a speedy resolution by the court.”The sports affected by the decision are women’s soccer (WakeMed Soccer Park), football (Bank of America Stadium), men’s and women’s swimming and diving (Greensboro Aquatics Center), women’s basketball (Greensboro Coliseum), men’s and women’s tennis (Cary Tennis Park), women’s golf (Sedgefield Country Club, Greensboro), men’s golf (Old North State Club, New London) and baseball (Durham Bulls Athletic Park).With the ACC leaving town, several organizations including the Carolina Panthers and Durham Bulls released statements about the decision.One of the biggest losers in the fallout from the NCAA and ACC is the Town of Cary. Along with the estimated 2,535,000 lost in direct visitor spending from six total events between the two organizations, the Town of Cary has also planned on renovations to keep those championships in N.C.Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht weighed in on the ACC and NCAA’s decision.”Cary shares the NCAA’s and ACC’s values of inclusiveness, and we have an impeccable record of providing events that welcome everyone,” Weinbrecht said. “Unfortunately, because of HB2, the perception nationwide and globally is that North Carolina is no longer a progressive state but instead is moving backwards. Many label our state as discriminatory, which is embarrassing.”