ACC follows NCAA, moves championships out of North Carolina

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Atlantic Coast Conference is following the NCAA and moving its neutral site championships out of North Carolina.

The conference confirmed the move Wednesday afternoon.

The ACC Council of Presidents issued a statement Wednesday citing its "commitment to uphold the values of equality, diversity, inclusion, and non-discrimination" as the reason for moving.

The conference says that North Carolina House Bill 2 is inconsistent with its values and all neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year will relocate.

North Carolina House Bill 2 states that individuals in government buildings must use the restroom that corresponds with the sex on their birth certificate. Many LGBT groups have criticized the bill, calling it discriminatory.

The NCAA decided to pull its championships out of the state earlier this week, also citing House Bill 2 as a reason.

ACC president John Swofford stood behind the decision in a statement.

“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," Swofford said. "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."

Swofford didn't rule out a return to North Carolina, the conference office's home state, in the future.

"Hopefully, there will be opportunities beyond 2016-17 for North Carolina neutral sites to be awarded championships," he said.

Florida State has appeared in the ACC Football Championship in Charlotte four times since the location became the home for the game in 2010.

The ACC Men's basketball tournament was held in Greensboro, North Carolina five out of six years between 2010 and 2015, and had been slated to return to North Carolina in 2019. It's unknown at this time whether future sites will change beyond this academic year.

College football bowl games are not an NCAA nor ACC sanctioned event, so the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, which is slated to host an ACC participant, isn't affected by the conference's move.

Future championship locations for this year will be announced by the conference at a later time.

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