The sporting exodus from the state of North Carolina continued on Wednesday, as the Greensboro-headquartered Atlantic Coast Conference announced it is relocating its major championships outside of the state for the upcoming academic year in response to the state’s discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ HB2 or “bathroom bill.” The biggest financial hit to the state will be the ACC Championship football game that was scheduled for Dec. 3 in Charlotte. The other competitions that will be moved are: baseball, women’s basketball and soccer, along with men’s and women’s swimming and diving, tennis, and golf. The men’s basketball tournament was already scheduled to be held in Brooklyn for the next two years.
“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,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “Hopefully, there will be opportunities beyond 2016-17 for North Carolina neutral sites to be awarded championships.”
The announcement comes in the wake of the NBA pulling the 2017 All-Star Game from the state and the NCAA’s move this week to relocate its national championships that were scheduled to take place in North Carolina. While supporters of the bill, including Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, had decried the national pressure as encroachment, the ACC is culturally and geographically rooted in the state, making it a potentially more powerful revolt from within. Four of the league’s founding members and most bedrock institutions are located in the state: Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Wake Forest.