North Carolina loses Atlantic Coast Conference championships because of HB2

Following a Change.org petition, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) announced that it will move out of North Carolina in response to the discriminatory law, HB2.

The author, South Carolinian Jim Prater, worked with GLAAD and Change.org to call on the ACC to follow in the footsteps of other organizations and businesses that have moved from North Carolina, comparing this situation to one from the ACC's past. Prater, a graduate of Clemson University in the Palmetto State, wrote in the petition:

As a South Carolina resident, a Clemson University graduate, and a long time ACC supporter, I remember when the ACC moved its tournament out of South Carolina due to the Confederate Flag that flew on our State House grounds. Now, I am calling on the ACC to send a similarly strong signal of its support to all North Carolinians - just as it has done before - and take this tournament to another state, where all citizens are treated fairly and equally under the law.

In response, leadership from the ACC issued three statements to announce that it will be moving championship games and tournaments to “neutral locations.”

The ACC Council of Presidents issued a statement that said:

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. 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.

President James P. Clements, the president of Prater’s alma mater, Clemson University, and chair of the ACC Council of Presidents also issued a statement:

The ACC presidents engaged in a constructive, wide-ranging and vigorous discussion of this complex issue over the past two days. The decision to move the neutral site championships out of North Carolina while HB 2 remains the law was not an easy one but it is consistent with the shared values of inclusion and non-discrimination at all of our institutions.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford also spoke out:

The ACC Council of Presidents made it clear that the core values of this league are of the utmost importance, and the opposition to any form of discrimination is paramount. 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. Hopefully, there will be opportunities beyond 2016-17 for North Carolina neutral sites to be awarded championships.

The announcement will affect 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. ACC schools include Boston College, Georgia Tech, NC State, Virginia, Clemson, Louisville, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Duke, Miami, Pitt, Wake Forest, Florida State, North Carolina, and Syracuse.

North Carolina's HB-2 has been actively opposed by businesses, performers, advocates, and organizations because of its discriminatory nature. HB-2 asserts that state law overrides local nondiscrimination ordinances for LGBT people, and forces people to use the bathroom of the sex listed on their birth certificate rather than their actual gender identity, along with overriding all local ordinances addressing employment, wages, or public accommodations.