Friday, July 20, 2018
Colleges

ACC to relocate athletic championships from North Carolina

CLEMSON, S.C. — The Atlantic Coast Conference has followed the NCAA's lead and is removing all its athletic championships from North Carolina over a state law limiting protections for LGBT people.

The ACC Council of Presidents voted Wednesday to relocate the league's championships until North Carolina repeals the law. The decision includes 10 neutral site championships this academic school year, which means relocating the ACC football title game that was scheduled to be played in Charlotte in December.

No announcement was made on where the championship events will be held.

"The decision to move the neutral site championships out of North Carolina while HB2 remains the law was not an easy one," said Clemson president James P. Clements, chairman of the league's council. "But it is consistent with the shared values of inclusion and non-discrimination at all our institutions."

On Monday, the NCAA said it was relocating seven of its championships scheduled to be played in the state, including the men's basketball first- and second-round matchups scheduled for next March in Greensboro, North Carolina.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford said after the NCAA's decision that his league would review its next steps.

The law requires transgender people to use restrooms at schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. It also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from local and statewide antidiscrimination protections. HB2 was signed into law earlier this year by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who has defended it as a commonsense safety and security measure.

Clements said the leaders had an open, honest dialogue that took in all sides of the issue.

"There are a lot of parts to the discussion, how the community is affected," the Clemson president said. "I'm really happy with how everybody came together."

Swofford said the presidents' choice was made on principle.

"I think it was the right decision. A difficult one in ways, but an easy one in ways considering the principles involved," he said. "That's where our president's laid their bed so to speak, and I think we landed in the right place."

Swofford said identifying replacement venues is in the early stages, but hoped to get locations lined up as quickly as possible.

Finding a football stadium as ACC-friendly as Charlotte might be difficult. The championship game's been played at Bank of America Stadium for the past six seasons with an average attendance of 69,641.

In the previous two seasons (2008-09) the game was held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa and averaged 49,412 spectators.

"We'll do what we need to do," Swofford said. "It's a challenge, our next challenge."

Football's not the only sport affected. The ACC planned to hold 14 of its 21 championship events in North Carolina this academic year, with 10 of those at neutral, off-campus, sites and the other four on the campuses of Wake Forest (field hockey), Duke (fencing), North Carolina (softball) and N.C. State (wrestling).

The first of those neutral-site events, which are pre-determined championship locations regardless of the teams competing, was men's and women's cross country that was set for Oct. 28 in Cary.

This action by the ACC is the latest in a steady stream of public and business backlash against the law.

The NBA moved its 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans instead of hosting it in Charlotte as originally scheduled because of the law. Duke's men's basketball schedule had to be reconfigured when Albany backed out due to that state's travel ban, and the Vermont women's basketball team has canceled a December trip to play North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Entertainers like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Ringo Starr have canceled plans to play in North Carolina. And PayPal reversed plans to open a 400-employee operation center in Charlotte.

The ACC and NCAA moves have been a hit to North Carolina's tourism and business communities, which rely on servicing fans attending major sporting events.

Scott Dupree, executive director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, said the recent announcements by the NCAA and ACC were "unprecedented and historically bad" for the state's sports event industry.

It was "probably the worst ever in terms of lost business and damage to our brand," he said.

Comments
Where do Mullen, Taggart rank among college football’s offensive masterminds?

Where do Mullen, Taggart rank among college football’s offensive masterminds?

With offensive-minded head coaches taking over Florida and Florida State, we wanted to know how the recent offensive successes of Dan Mullen and Willie Taggart rank among their peers.After crunching thousands of numbers, here's our answer: Not as hig...
Updated: 7 hours ago
ACC recap: Top sound bites from Charlotte

ACC recap: Top sound bites from Charlotte

College football's talking season commenced this week with three Power Five conferences staging their annual media days. We were in Charlotte for the ACC gab-a-rama, where sound bites ranging from the bizarre to the brain-dead were generated.And that...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Florida State defensive forecast not that simple

Florida State defensive forecast not that simple

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — His debut at the ACC kickoff attracted a wholly unsurprising assortment of topics. New FSU coach Willie Taggart was asked about his culture, his quarterbacks, his catch phrases.He handled each question deftly, hardly devi...
Published: 07/19/18
Willie Taggart: Francois’ offseason problems are ‘behind us’

Willie Taggart: Francois’ offseason problems are ‘behind us’

FSU coach Willie Taggart indicated Thursday the tumultuous offseason of QB Deondre Francois won't factor in to his quest for the starting job when preseason camp commences next month."He's handled his consequences behind that, and he's moved on," Tag...
Published: 07/19/18
SEC media days: Why I’m picking Alabama and Georgia to meet again

SEC media days: Why I’m picking Alabama and Georgia to meet again

ATLANTA — Continuing my annual tradition of idiocy, here are my predicted SEC football standings for the fall. I'll revisit them after the season, so I can laugh at myself before anyone else can laugh at me.SEC West1.   ...
Published: 07/19/18
SEC media days: No answers on Alabama quarterback battle

SEC media days: No answers on Alabama quarterback battle

ATLANTA — Alabama coach Nick Saban had little to say Wednesday about the biggest topic of the offseason.Who will be the Crimson Tide's starting quarterback: Tua Tagovailoa or Jalen Hurts?"I think the number one thing that you will want to ...
Published: 07/18/18
Dan Mullen’s old team will be better than his new one. That’s a good thing

Dan Mullen’s old team will be better than his new one. That’s a good thing

ATLANTA — The difference between where the Gators are and where they could be showed up in back-to-back days behind a podium at the College Football Hall of Fame.On Tuesday, first-year Florida coach Dan Mullen said the program he inherited...
Published: 07/18/18
SEC media days: Mississippi State not looking ahead to Dan Mullen’s return

SEC media days: Mississippi State not looking ahead to Dan Mullen’s return

ATLANTA — If the Dan Mullen's return to Starkville on Sept. 29 is going to be one of the biggest games in Mississippi history, his former Mississippi State players aren't ready to talk about it."We know it's a big-time SEC game," safety Ma...
Published: 07/18/18
ACC chief doesn’t like ‘optics’ of widespread college sports gambling

ACC chief doesn’t like ‘optics’ of widespread college sports gambling

A few highlights from ACC commissioner John Swofford's nearly hour-long opening address at this morning's ACC Kickoff in Charlotte.•  Swofford noted the ACC Network — in partnership with ESPN — remains set to launch i...
Published: 07/18/18
Bill Hancock talks College Football Playoff expansion (not happening) and UCF

Bill Hancock talks College Football Playoff expansion (not happening) and UCF

ATLANTA — College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock answered the question before it could even be asked."There is no talk about expansion among the university presidents and the conference commissioners who sit on our b...
Published: 07/18/18