Well that certainly didn’t take long.
The NCAA announced Monday night that it is pulling seven of its championships from the state of North Carolina because of the controversial House Bill 2 (HB2), a law which some claim fosters discrimination against members of the LGBT communities. While president Mark Emmert stated that The Association would not push for the ACC to move its football championship game from Charlotte, the conference’s commissioner, John Swofford, heavily intimated that a move could happen.
Wednesday afternoon, that move became official as the ACC announced that the league “will relocate all neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year.” Included in that number is the football title game, which had been scheduled to be played at Bank of America Stadium through the 2019 season.
The other sports impacted are:
Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving
Men’s and Women’s Tennis
This year’s football title game at the site that’s been its home for six years had been scheduled for Dec. 3 at the home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Tampa (the Buccaneers are on the road that weekend) and Miami (same for Dolphins) have already been mentioned as possibilities for this year’s game. Orlando would have been an obvious choice, but the Citrus Bowl is hosting a pair of high school football championship games that same day. Another potential temporary home, Jacksonville, likely won’t be in play this year as the NFL’s Jaguars have a home game the first weekend of December.
FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, could be a consideration as well as the Redskins play away from their home. The NFL stadium has played host to a number of college football games the past few years, although whether the weather that time of year would be a concern to the ACC remains to be seen.
Charlotte has played host to the ACC football championship game since 2010. Prior to 2010, the first three were played in Jacksonville and the next two in Tampa.
Below are the statements on the relocation by league officials.
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.