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NEW YORK (Sept. 14) -Today, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s (ACC) Council of Presidents announced it was pulling all of its neutral-site championships from North Carolina due to the discriminatory climate created by HB2, a statewide anti-LGBT law. This puts the ACC closer in line with the precedents set by the NCAA and the NBA.
The neutral-site championships pulled will include Women’s Soccer, Football, Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving, Women’s Basketball, Men’s and Women’s Tennis, Men’s and Women’s Golf, and Baseball.
Women’s Field Hockey (hosted by Wake Forest), Men’s and Women’s Fencing (hosted by Duke), Men’s Wrestling (hosted by NC State) and Softball (hosted by NC State) championships still remain scheduled in the state.
The ACC is a collegiate athletic conference comprised of fifteen member universities that compete in the NCAA’s Division I, the highest level of U.S. collegiate athletics. The organization’s headquarters is based in Greensboro, N.C. Athlete Ally has been in communication with the ACC Governance, its member institutions and concerned student-athletes in conversations surrounding HB2, advocating for ACC athletic competitions to be LGBT-inclusive.
HB2 was adopted by the North Carolina legislature in March 2016. The law stripped away LGBT nondiscrimination laws enacted in more than a dozen of the state’s cities. It also placed tight restrictions on bathroom access for transgender people.
“The ACC’s decision to pull its championships at neutral sites from North Carolina is yet another win for the LGBT community and is an acknowledgement that athletic championships should only be awarded to those states and cities that champion LGBT equality,” said Athlete Ally’s Founder and Executive Director, Hudson Taylor. “I am hopeful that losing the NBA All-Star game, the NCAA championships and now several ACC championships, will once and for all convince North Carolina legislators that they are on the wrong side of history and that LGBT athletes and fans deserve to be protected and respected on the field and under the law.”
The decision follows in the wake of the NBA’s decision this past July to move the NBA All-Star game and the NCAA’s decision on Monday to pull championship games from North Carolina due to the same law.
“The ACC is still in a unique position to make a powerful statement about its commitment to equality and inclusion,” said Athlete Ally’s Director of Policy and Campaigns Ashland Johnson. “Indeed, their leadership builds on a trend we are seeing in the sports community where major institutions have become powerful allies in the equality movement. However, we hope they continue to take the necessary steps to ensure the ACC’s LGBT community is safe and protected at the championships that remain in North Carolina, where HB2 is still an enforceable law. This will be the true measure to its commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
You can view a list of the revoked championships and the ACC’s statements here.
Athlete Ally is a non-profit organization that educates and activates athletic communities to champion LGBT equality. Athlete Ally works with MLB, MLS, the NBA, WNBA, and NBPA on player development and LGBT inclusion. It also co-wrote Champions of Respect, the NCAA’s guide on LGBT policies and best practices. Athlete Ally also partners with over 150 professional athletes and college campuses to promote LGBT respect and inclusion.
Director of Policy and Campaigns