FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ted Rybka
AMELIA ISLAND, FL (May 11, 2016) – Today at the Atlantic Coast Conference’s annual spring meetings held in Amelia Island, Fl, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representatives met with the governing body to discuss a variety of issues surrounding student-athlete well-being, including HB2, North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law. Citing concerns over the safety of student-athletes, coaches and fans who attend college in the state, SAAC representatives from across the conference sent a formal letter outlining the need for better protections.
The Atlantic Coast Conference is a collegiate athletic conference comprised of 15 Division I members schools, four of which – Duke, North Carolina State, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Wake Forest – are located in North Carolina. Its headquarters are in Greensboro, NC and many of its tournaments are held in the state.
Until recently, the ACC has stated that it was “monitoring” the effects of HB2. On Monday, May 9 ACC commissioner John Swofford told the ACC Digital Network that he was unsure how the law would affect future tournament sites in the state. “I don’t know the answer to that yet, necessarily,” said Swofford. “Our executive committee had a call last Friday to discuss the issue. We’ll discuss it further here.”
In response to Swofford’s statement, Athlete Ally submitted a formal letter with clear steps on how the ACC could better stand up for those in its conference. In addition to a stronger statement, the organization recommended moving future championship tournaments out of North Carolina until HB2 is repealed.
Hudson Taylor, Athlete Ally’s executive director, offered words of support to SAAC representatives and to the ACC’s governing body. “It’s great to see student-athletes banding together in the name of inclusiveness. We hope the ACC recognizes this is a serious matter that requires strong words and even stronger actions.”
Athlete Ally’s Director of Policy and Programs, Ashland Johnson added, “The ACC needs to defend and support its students on the playing field as vigorously and vociferously as the federal government is doing in court for the citizens of North Carolina. We’ve provided them with the tools and resources to do just that.”
In addition to the ACC recommendations, Athlete Ally published a first-person account of what it’s like to be an elite LGBT student-athlete at a Division I school.
About Athlete Ally
Athlete Ally is a non-profit organization that educates and empowers the athletic community to take a stand against homophobia and transphobia in sports. Athlete Ally works with MLB, the NBA, WNBA, and NBPA on player development and LGBT inclusion. It also co-wrote the NCAA’s LGBT policies and resource guides and partners with over a hundred professional athletes and college campuses to promote LGBT equality and respect.
To contact Athlete Ally:
Director of Communications
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or by visiting http://www.athleteally.org