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ACC moving neutral-site championship games out of North Carolina due to HB2

The ACC announced Wednesday that it is moving all neutral-site conference championship games out of the state of North Carolina as a result of the state’s controversial House Bill 2 law that limits the legal protection of the LGBT community.

This means the upcoming ACC football championship game set for Charlotte on Dec. 3 will no longer be played there. Conference commissioner John Swofford said in a statement that a new location will be announced at a later date.

A source told ESPN that Orlando has been contacted about possible interest in hosting the football title game, and the Central Florida Sports Commission confirmed Wednesday that it is interested in hosting all neutral-site events that would need to be relocated. One problem, however, is that Camping World Stadium is already scheduled to host the Florida state high school football championships on the same weekend as the ACC football title game.

Other ACC sports impacted are baseball, women’s basketball, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s golf.

“If the ACC is interested in relocating championships to Central Florida, we will work with our city, county and venue partners to determine the best way for us to move forward,” said Jason Siegel, Interim President & CEO of the Central Florida Sports Commission. “As it relates to the ACC Football Championship, our friends at Florida Citrus Sports will handle those discussions directly.”

The ACC Council of Presidents issued a statement Wednesday saying its decision “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,” the statement said. “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.”

The move comes on the heels of the NCAA announcing Monday that it would move seven championship events — including the first- and second-round games of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament — out of North Carolina.

“The ACC council of presidents made it clear that the core values of this league are of the upmost importance, and the opposition to any form of discrimination is paramount,” Swofford said in a statement. “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.

“Hopefully, there will be opportunities beyond 2016-17 for North Carolina neutral sites to be awarded championships.”

In February, the NBA decided to move its All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans.