CLEMSON, S.C. — The Atlantic Coast Conference has followed the NCAA’s lead and is removing its athletic championships from North Carolina over a state law limiting protections for the gay community.
The ACC Council of Presidents voted Wednesday to relocate the league’s championships until North Carolina repeals the law. The decision includes 10 neutral-site championships this academic year, which means relocating the ACC football title game that was scheduled to be played in Charlotte in December.
No announcement was made on where the championship events will be held.
“The decision to move the neutral-site championships out of North Carolina while [House Bill 2] remains the law was not an easy one,” said Clemson President James P. Clements, chairman of the council. “But it is consistent with the shared values of inclusion and non-discrimination at all our institutions.”
On Monday, the NCAA said it was relocating seven of its championships scheduled to be played in the state.
ACC commissioner John Swofford said after the NCAA’s decision that his league would review its next steps.
The law requires transgender people to use restrooms at schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. It also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from local and statewide antidiscrimination protections.
HB2 was signed into law this year by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who has defended it as a commonsense safety and security measure.
McCrory said that the legal system ultimately will decide the issue, adding that “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 states. His statement largely mirrored the one he issued Tuesday in the aftermath of the NCAA’s decision.
Clements said the leaders had an open, honest dialogue that took in all sides of the issue.
“There are a lot of parts to the discussion, how the community is affected,” the Clemson president said. “I’m really happy with how everybody came together.”
The ACC planned to hold 14 of its 21 championship events in North Carolina this academic year, with the majority of those at neutral, off-campus sites, and the others either on the campuses or the home venues of Wake Forest (field hockey), Duke (fencing), North Carolina (softball) and N.C. State (wrestling, cross country).
The ACC decision came the same day the NCAA reopened the bidding process for those championships it pulled from the state. The NCAA said bids for those events are due Sept. 27 and it hopes to decide the new sites by Oct. 7.