ACCs tax-exempt status could be reviewed after conference pulls games in protest of H.B. 2

Jeremy Brevard—USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5

WINSTON-SALEM — The Atlantic Coast Conference on Wednesday said it would move 10 college sports championships from North Carolina in protest of the controversial House Bill 2 law. Two days ago, the NCAA announced it would relocate seven championship sporting events from North Carolina for the 2016-17 season in protest of the same law. “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,” said Gov.Pat McCrory in a statement released Wednesday. “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 H.B. 2 measure, enacted in March, requires transgender people to use bathrooms in publicly owned buildings that correspond with the gender listed on their birth certificate, not the gender they identify as, if a gender-neutral “family” bathroom is not available. The law also bars local governments from enacting local anti-discrimination ordinances that are more stringent than state law.”This is political theatre by the NCAA and ACC,” said Congressman Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) in a statement Wednesday. “If these multimillion-dollar, tax-exempt organizations were interested in social change and not making a political statement, they would proceed with their marquee events in North Carolina and enact any transgender bathroom policy they wanted. This blatant political move — less than two months before the election — brings into question their tax-exempt status. This is an avenue we intend to explore.” The ACC’s decision will affect championships in soccer, football, swimming and diving, basketball, tennis, golf and baseball that were to be held at neutral sites across North Carolina. New locations for the events have not been announced. “The decision to move the neutral site championships out of North Carolina while H.B. 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,” Clemson University President James Clements, chairman of the ACC Council of Presidents, said in a statement. North Carolina’s law has made the state a focal point in the U.S. battle over transgender rights, and the fallout since its passage by the Republican-led legislature continues to build. In July, the NBA pulled its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte over objections to H.B. 2. Performers including Bruce Springsteen, Maroon 5 and Pearl Jam canceled shows, and companies such as PayPal and Deutsche Bank scrapped plans to add jobs in the state for the same reason. “It has never been more clear than it is right now — H.B. 2 is hurting our state every minute that it remains law,” said Rep. Chris Sgro (D-Guilford), who is also executive director of advocacy group Equality NC. Republican leaders in the state, including Gov. Pat McCrory, have not backed off their support for the measure. “The truth remains that this law was never about and does not promote discrimination,” said Republican Tim Moore, speaker of the state House of Representatives. He called the decisions by the NCAA and ACC this week “unfortunate.”The decision impacts the students and athletes of the ACC schools in North Carolina including NC State, Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill and Wake Forest.”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,” said UNC president Margaret Spelling in an emailed statement Wednesday. “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.”