CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – The Latest on the Atlantic Coast Conference removing championships from North Carolina in response to a state law involving LGBT rights (all times local):
A North Carolina congressman is questioning the tax-exempt status of the Atlantic Coast Conference and NCAA after they pulled championship events from the state while citing a state law that critics say discriminates against LGBT people.
Republican U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson said Wednesday the actions by the athletic organizations are just political theater close to Election Day. He says looking at their favorable tax position “is an avenue we intend to explore,” but didn’t give details.
The ACC and NCAA decided to take away championships because of House Bill 2, which in part stops local governments from passing broad ordinances protecting sexual orientation and gender identity.
Transgender people also must use bathrooms at schools and government buildings aligned with the sex on their birth certificates.
Republicans say the law does not promote discrimination. Hudson once worked for now-Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed the law.
North Carolina Democrats say it’s more important than ever Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and GOP lawmakers act now to repeal a transgender bathroom law the Atlantic Coast Conference cited in removing championship events from the state.
Attorney General Roy Cooper is trying to unseat McCrory in November. He said Wednesday in a video that the decision by the ACC and a similar one by the NCAA earlier this week are not just about sports, but local communities hosting these events “suffering real economic blows.” Cooper says there’s no end in sight to these losses until House Bill 2 is repealed. Cooper is a graduate of ACC member UNC-Chapel Hill.
State Democratic Party Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds also said the ACC’s decision could have been easily avoided with a repeal.
Republican legislative leaders and McCrory have shown no signs of backing off the law involving LGBT rights and which bathrooms transgender people can use.
North Carolina’s two public universities in the Atlantic Coast Conference say they support how member schools responded to a state law many believe lead to discrimination against LGBT people, even though the league’s decision may hurt state residents and communities.
The ACC’s Council of Presidents decided Wednesday to remove neutral-site league championships from North Carolina.
The chancellors of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and N.C. State University said they appreciated the council reaffirming the league’s “strong commitment to diversity and inclusion.” Carol Folt at UNC and Randy Woodson at N.C. State said they’re glad championships scheduled for campus sites will remain in place.
Woodson and Folt are council members. They said the schools remain committed to welcoming and supporting all people and protecting people from discrimination in many ways, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The North Carolina state House leader says decisions this week by the NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference to move championship events out of North Carolina are “very unfortunate” but he isn’t backing down from supporting a state law that led to their actions.
Speaker Tim Moore presided in March when the General Assembly approved House Bill 2, limiting anti-discrimination rules for LGBT people and governing which bathrooms transgender people can use at schools and government buildings. The two college athletics organizations cited the law in announcing their decision.
Moore said the organizations can host events wherever they choose but the “law was never about and does not promote discrimination.” Moore went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an ACC member.
Legislative leaders have asked a federal court to rule that the law is legal.
The Atlantic Coast Conference has followed the NCAA’s lead and is removing all its athletic championships from North Carolina over a state law that some say can lead to discrimination against LGBT people.
The ACC Council of Presidents voted Wednesday to relocate the league’s championships until North Carolina repeals the law. The decision includes all championship this academic school year, which means relocating the ACC football title game that was scheduled to be played in Charlotte in December.
On Monday, the NCAA said it was relocating seven of its championships scheduled to be played in the state, including the men’s basketball first- and second-round matchups scheduled for next March in Greensboro, North Carolina.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford said after the NCAA’s decision that his league would review its next steps.
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