The ACC has announced that they’ve pulled all neutral-site conference championship meets from the state of North Carolina from the 2016-2017 academic year, following in the footsteps of an announcement from the NCAA earlier this year.
That includes the conference swimming championship meet which was set to be hosted at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, North Carolina every season from 2017-2022.
The decision will not affect university-hosted championships in the state, like the ones in cross country, field hockey, wrestling, and fencing.
The rift is over the controversial North Carolina House Bill 2, which the ACC says is “inconsistent with (their) values” of equality, diversity, inclusion, and non-discrimination.
The bill, also known as the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, deals with gender identity, and garnered national media attention as “the bathroom bill.” It requires transgender people to use restrooms that correspond with the sex on their birth certificates in government buildings rather than the gender with which they identify. On a broader scale, the law defines “biological sex” as “the physical condition of being male or female, which is stated on a person’s birth certificate.” That changes the scope of the state’s anti-discrimination law, which now protects from discrimination based on “biological sex” but does not mention transgender people.
4 of the conference’s 15 member institutions (Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest, and North Carolina State) are based in North Carolina, as are the ACC’s headquarters in Greensboro.
No time table for naming replacement hosts has been announced, though several other schools in the conference have large aquatic facilities capable of hosting the meet, including last year’s NCAA Championships hosts at Georgia Tech.
Statement from the ACC Council of Presidents:
“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.”
Statement from Clemson University President James P. Clements, chair of the ACC Council of Presidents:
“The ACC presidents engaged in a constructive, wide-ranging and vigorous discussion of this complex issue over the past two days. The decision to move the neutral site championships out of North Carolina while HB 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.”
Statement from ACC Commissioner John Swofford:
“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. 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.”
Neutral site championships (in date order):
- Women’s Soccer
- Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving
- Women’s Basketball
- Men’s and Women’s Tennis
- Women’s Golf
- Men’s Golf