If newspapers still existed, they might arrive at your doorstep with the sports and politics sections intertwined. It’s become hard, if not impossible, to separate them these days.
The latest example: the ACC announced Wednesday it will pull all of its neutral site championship events from the state of North Carolina for the 2016-17 athletic year. This includes football, which has been anchored at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium since 2010.
The announcement comes in response to HB2, a controversial state law that, among other things, requires public restroom patrons to use the facility that requires with their sex at birth. The NBA pulled the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte over the summer, and on Monday the NCAA removed its championship events from the state, meaning the ACC or NCAA Tournaments will not be played in the Tar Heel state for the first time in a generation (the ACC Tournament was previously slated for Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in 2017 and ’18).
Said the ACC Council of Presidents:
“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.”
The ACC has not stated where it will move this year’s football championship game, but Orlando, Tampa and Washington, D.C., feel like the safest bets. (Jacksonville, the host of the first three ACC title games, seems unlikely with the Jaguars home on Dec. 4.)
The first five ACC championships were split between Jacksonville and Tampa and, it’s worth noting, attendance was horrible. The two Tampa championship games averaged 49,412 spectators. Charlotte’s six championship games averaged 69,641.
Orlando is prohibitive favorite as new host of ACC title game, sources told @ESPN. They will meet w/ACC officials on Thursday
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) September 14, 2016