The Atlantic Coast Conference announced on Wednesday that it will pull all neutral-site championships from North Carolina for the coming year because of the state’s controversial House Bill 2, or the transgender “bathroom law.”
The ACC said in a statement that it is confident “every one of our 15 universities is strongly committed to these values [equality, diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination] and therefore, we will continue to host ACC Championships at campus sites.” But because the organization feels North Carolina’s “House Bill 2 is inconsistent with these values,” it will relocate all neutral-site games out of the state.
The decision will affect major games in a variety of sports — though, notably, not men’s college basketball, which was already slated to hold its league tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn — from swimming and golf to soccer and, the most lucrative championship of all, college football.
Overall the move is expected to lose the state of North Carolina at least $30 million.
The ACC’s decision comes the same week as a similar move by the NCAA. If anything, the ACC’s choice is even more significant to North Carolinians. North Carolina is considered the home of the ACC. The conference is headquartered in Greensboro and a full four of its 15 members are within the state.
HB2, which North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law in March, makes it illegal for anybody to use public facilities like bathrooms or locker rooms that do not correspond to the sex that appears on their birth certificates. The law is widely seen as discriminatory to transgender people.
So far it seems that North Carolina’s schools are on the side of the two organizations. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State, Duke, and Wake Forest have all released statements expressing their concerns over HB2.
The decision has left the ACC scrambling. It only has a few weeks to find a new home for an upcoming women’s soccer championship, and the football championship game — which broke attendance records last year — is scheduled to kick off on December 3. It had been slated to take place at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, but will now be looking for another home.