Atlantic Coast Conference Pulls Events from North Carolina, Fueling Calls to Repeal HB2

By Adam Polaski • September 14, 2016 • 2:30 pm

Today the Atlantic Coast Conference announced that it will be relocating all neutral site championships away from North Carolina, where the anti-LGBT House Bill 2 has continued to be proven to be a terrible, discriminatory bill with far-reaching ramifications for the Tar Heel State. The law knocks down municipalities’ ability to enact local ordinances protecting LGBT North Carolinians from discrimination and then codifies anti-transgender policies into state law and has seen enormous blowback since it became law in March.


The ACC is a collegiate athletic conference comprised of 15 different universities, including Duke University, NC State, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Notre Dame, and Florida State.

The ACC Council of Presidents issued a statement today:

“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.”
ACC Commissioner John Swofford added:
“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.”

Freedom for All Americans Executive Director Matt McTighe said today:

“It’s absolutely astounding that Governor McCrory continues to defend this reprehensible law – even as its price tag grows well into the hundreds of millions, and countless job opportunities slip away from North Carolinians,” said Matt McTighe, Freedom for All Americans executive director. “We commend the ACC – as well as the NCAA and the NBA – for doing the right thing and taking a stand against this hateful law. Governor McCrory and his legislative allies must take immediate action to stem these economic losses and right the wrongs they’ve unleashed with HB 2.”

The decision will see an especially large impact in just a few months, as the ACC has withdrawn the ACC title game from Charlotte, which was to be played Dec. 3 at Bank of America Stadium.  It “had been expected to draw tens of thousands of fans and millions in economic impact to the city. Charlotte’s visitor arm estimates the 2015 game here had a total economic impact of $32.4 million,” The Charlotte Observer reported today.

The ACC’s announcement comes just a few days after the NCAA announced that it was also pulling all championship games from North Carolina.
HB2’s price tag continues to tick higher and higher, with today’s decision adding millions of dollars of more revenue lost for North Carolina. This summer when the NBA All-Star game relocated from Charlotte, the city lost $100 million associated with the game, and the Charlotte Chamber has estimated that the discriminatory law is costing the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region at least $285 million. The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau says the law has cost their region more than $40 million, and many companies – including PayPal and Deutsche Bank – have canceled planned expansions in the state, costing the state even more jobs and investment.
Discrimination is, plain and simple, bad for business – and laws like HB2 create hostile environments that are blatantly inhospitable to the welcoming climates necessary for state economies to compete. How much more damage will HB2 have to cause before Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly repeal this shameful legislation?
It’s not just North Carolina, of course. Other states are expected to consider anti-LGBT legislation in just a few months – from Texas to Wisconsin to Tennessee.
“Lawmakers in other states should take note of what’s happening in North Carolina right now,” Matt McTighe said today. “There are consequences to passing discriminatory bills. Right now, businesses, sports leagues and so many others are delivering an overwhelmingly clear message that legislators everywhere should heed: Discrimination will not be tolerated.”

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