Following the National Collegiate Athletic Association's lead, the Atlantic Coast Conference -- one of the major Power Five college sports leagues -- will move its athletic championships from North Carolina, due to state laws there that many say discriminate against gay, lesbian and transgender people.
"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," John Swofford, the conference's commissioner, 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."
Civil rights groups such as the Human Rights Campaign and Equality NC praised the move, but Margaret Spellings, president of the University of North Carolina, released a statement expressing concern.
"We appreciate that the ACC shares our commitment to creating an inclusive atmosphere for all, but we regret that today’s decision will penalize affected host communities and fans throughout the state," Spellings said. "Intercollegiate sports and the ACC are integral parts of North Carolina’s economy and way of life. As we have said many times, UNC institutions do not discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, and we are fully committed to being open and welcoming to individuals of all backgrounds. We remain caught in the middle of this issue and welcome a speedy resolution by the court."
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