North Carolina political and academic leaders, the Carolina Panthers and the Chair of the NCAA Board of Governors share their thoughts on the ACC's ruling to remove neutral-site championships from North Carolina for the 2016-2017 academic year.
UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol L. Folt and N.C. State University Chancellor Randy Woodson:
We appreciate the Council of Presidents’ reaffirmation of the ACC’s strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as the decision to keep ACC championship contests on our campuses. However, we regret today’s decision will negatively affect many North Carolinians, especially in the affected host communities.
UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State remain steadfast in our commitment to welcoming and supporting all people. Our policies protect students, faculty and staff from discrimination, regardless of age, color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status. As such, we remain dedicated to providing and promoting equal opportunity and non-discrimination to everyone who participates in athletic events on our campuses.
UNC Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham:
“Respecting diversity and being an inclusive campus for students, faculty, staff and our guests is paramount at Carolina. The Atlantic Coast Conference shares those aspirations to be fair and welcoming to people of all backgrounds. We have great respect for the NCAA‘s and ACC’s decisions, and are glad that the on-campus championships will remain in place. However, we are disappointed that 10 ACC neutral-site events will be moved out of state because of the negative effects those decisions have on student-athletes, fans and numerous host communities. We are hopeful that these issues are resolved quickly and the championship events are able to return to our state.”
Carolina Panthers Official Statement:
"We are aware of the decision from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Although we are disappointed, we remain steadfast in providing an inclusive environment at Bank of America Stadium. As we stated last summer, after more than 20 years of operations, we undoubtedly have had transgender persons attend events here and presumably, they have used the restroom of the gender with which they identify. Our organization is against discrimination and has a long history of treating all of our patrons at Bank of America Stadium with dignity and respect."
Wake Forest University Athletic Director Ron Wellman:
Wake Forest remains committed to competing in an environment of diversity and inclusion. Our University motto of Pro Humanitate remains resolute. We continue to hope for a resolution to this matter in the near future. We hope that the communities within North Carolina will again have the opportunity to host future neutral site ACC Championship events.
State Attorney General Roy Cooper:
I’m incredibly disappointed in the news this week. First we lost the NCAA tournament games and now we’ve lost the ACC championships. It’s clear we can’t wait until November to repeal house bill 2. This is not just about sports. This is about communities in North Carolina suffering real economic blows The news this week made it clear there is no end in sight to the losses we’ll face unless this law is repealed. And unfortunately we’ve seen no leadership from our governor on this issue. He has doubled down on this bad law after our state has taken hit after hit. And he’s not only ignoring the impact on communities. But actively attacking businesses and organizations who dare speak out against House Bill 2. This is not who we are as north Carolinians and it doesn’t have to go this way. The solution is simple – repeal house bill 2 and do it now.
House Speaker Tim Moore:
“It is very unfortunate that the NCAA and ACC have decided to move their scheduled events out of North Carolina. No one ever wants to lose events under any circumstances, but these organizations are certainly entitled to host their events wherever they choose. The truth remains that this law was never about and does not promote discrimination. We will continue to advocate that North Carolina is a great place to live, do business, hold events and to visit.”
N.C. Democratic Party Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds:
“This is another loss for North Carolina that could have been easily avoided – another disappointing day for the state. How much more money and how many more jobs does North Carolina have to lose before Governor McCrory stops pointing fingers and fixes his mistake? It is way past time to repeal this disastrous law.”
N.C. Senator Rick Gunn:
I'm opposed to giving men access to girls’ locker rooms and bathrooms, but I also am concerned about the impact HB 2 is having on our state and the Triad – especially NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference athletic championship events – and I think it is time we give serious consideration to modifying, or possibly repealing, HB 2. It is time for the federal courts to protect women and girls' privacy and strike down President Obama's bathroom sharing mandate.
N.C. Congressman Richard Hudson:
"This is political theatre by the NCAA and ACC. If these multi-million dollar, tax exempt organizations were interested in social change and not making a political statement, they would proceed with their marquee events in North Carolina and enact any transgender bathroom policy they wanted. This blatant political move—less than two months before the election—brings into question their tax exempt status. This is an avenue we intend to explore."
Chair, NCAA Board of Governors and President of Georgia Tech, G.P. 'Bud' Peterson:
This decision is consistent with the actions we have previously taken to promote our values. We also ban predetermined championships events in states whose governments display the Confederate battle flag or authorize sports wagering and at schools that use hostile and abusive Native American language or imagery. Now, to protect championships participants and fans from discrimination because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, we find it necessary to find other locations for our events. A group of representatives from NCAA schools will continue to evaluate bids to determine which locations can host future events. Future championships site decisions, typically announced in early December, will be delayed until next year.
Fairness means more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even championships. It means feeling safe and respected while participating in those opportunities. This decision impacts relationships, contracts and revenue for the NCAA, our members and our partners. But we could not reconcile moving forward with events in North Carolina with our commitment to creating the best student-athlete experience possible at our events.
Local ACC fans are also reacting to conference's decision.
"This is just another, just another knock, you know," said Michael Sage, of Greensboro. "Another reason to just be against [House Bill 2]. That's just a big, big thing for the area."
Angela Barker agreed, saying, "It seems like North Carolina is now going to be closed for business, essentially because a lot of people are going to look at this discriminatory bill that spans a multitude of issues within our state."
Crow Adkins, of Winston Salem, had other thoughts. As someone who works at many of these events, he says it isn't fair to take the tournaments, and all the money that come with them, away from cities.
"I don't think [the ACC needs] to do that because it's taking millions of dollars out of the economy," he said. "It's taking money out of people's pockets, and this is the time of day and age where we don't need people taking money out of our pockets."
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