The Atlantic Coast Conference has followed the NCAA's lead in removing its respective championships from North Carolina to neutral sites in response to the state’s controversial bathroom law, the conference announced on Wednesday.
The law, House Bill 2, limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people, and requires people to use public restrooms that correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificates.
“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,” the ACC council of presidents said in a statement. “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.”
The conference championships for women’s soccer, football, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, women’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s golf, men’s golf and baseball will be moved to neutral sites. The ACC football championship game was initially going to be held in Charlotte.
Earlier this summer, the NBA removed its upcoming All-Star Game out of Charlotte because of the law.
The Carolina Panthers issued the following statement following the ACC decision:
“We are aware of the decision from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Although we are disappointed, we remain steadfast in providing an inclusive environment at Bank of America Stadium. As we stated last summer, after more than 20 years of operations, we undoubtedly have had transgender persons attend events here and presumably, they have used the restroom of the gender with which they identify. Our organization is against discrimination and has a long history of treating all of our patrons at Bank of America Stadium with dignity and respect.”
Central Florida Sports Commission says it will pursue all of the ACC championship events to potentially host them.