The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) ordered all championships at neutral, off-campus sites out of the state of North Carolina for the upcoming academic year.
The ACC’s Council of Presidents cited North Carolina House Bill 2 as justification for the move. The law, passed earlier this year, restricts multiple-occupancy bathrooms in state buildings to those matching the sex indicated on the entrances.
“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,” a statement by the ACC Council of Presidents maintained. “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 boycott of North Carolina by a conference with three schools, including to public institutions, in the state follows a similar move earlier this week by the NCAA. The collegiate athletics governing body pulled first- and second-round men’s basketball tournament games from Greensboro, and removed Division 1 women’s championships in golf, lacrosse, and soccer.
The ACC’s decision, in practical terms, removes the conference’s football championship from Charlotte. The decision also proves consequential for baseball, women’s basketball, tennis, golf, swimming, diving, and women’s soccer.
“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 held in a statement. “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.”