NCAA pulls championship events from North Carolina. Will the ACC follow?
The NCAA on Monday joined the NBA in pulling its championship events from the state of North Carolina following the state’s controversial implementation of HB2, a law that requires residents to use the public restroom corresponding to their sex as assigned at birth.
The NBA in June removed the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte citing objection to the law, and the NCAA followed suit Monday with its championship events.Says the NCAA:
Based on the NCAA’s commitment to fairness and inclusion, the Association will relocate all seven previously awarded championship events from North Carolina during the 2016-17 academic year. The NCAA Board of Governors made this decision because of the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.
In its decision Monday, the Board of Governors emphasized that NCAA championships and events must promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans. Current North Carolina state laws make it challenging to guarantee that host communities can help deliver on that commitment if NCAA events remained in the state, the board said.
“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA president. “We believe in providing a safe and respectful environment at our events and are committed to providing the best experience possible for college athletes, fans and everyone taking part in our championships.”
Seven events will be affected for the 2016-17 athletic year, but none of them football. Bowl games, remember, are independent entities run in conjunction with the conferences, though the NCAA does certify them into existence. One figures a potential North Carolina bowl game would be shot down, but that is a moot point at the moment with the bowl certification process on hold for the next three years.
The ACC, however, has held its championship game at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium since 2010 and has agreed to remain through 2019. Charlotte has been good business for the ACC; each of the six games there has been near or above 65,000 in attendance, while only one of the five title games split between Jacksonville and Tampa from 2005-09 did so.
ACC commissioner John Swofford has spoken on the record on this subject before, saying, “We had a long discussion about this issue in May at our spring meetings, and at that time made the determination as to where our championships would be held for the ’16-17 year,” Swofford said this summer. “Whatever we do won’t be because of what the NBA does. And I don’t mean that disrespectfully. We’ll do what we think is right and best for the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“Right now what our schools want to do is to see how this plays out and where it ends up, because it’s still in process to one degree or another and the courts may well ultimately decide that.”
Swofford did note over the summer the topic would likely come up at the ACC’s October meetings. "[D]epending on what’s happened at that point in time, I’m sure our schools will want to have some further discussion about it,” he said.
Well, between then and now, the NCAA has joined the NBA in pulling out of the state. Even the ACC Tournament has left the Tar Heel State, though for different reasons; the league is heading to Brooklyn in 2017 and ’18 as part of its East Coast manifest destiny/cash grab. This means that, for the time being, the ACC Championship is the only major championship event within the state of North Carolina.
So it’s safe to assume the ACC’s Powers That Be will have something to say about HB2 and its ramifications when they gather next month.