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A major collegiate sports conference is following the NCAA's lead by pulling its athletic tournaments from North Carolina to protest the state's controversial bathroom law.
The Atlantic Coast Conference voted Wednesday to find other sites for its championship games through the 2016-17 school year while the law remains in effect. The decision means the ACC football title game which was scheduled for December in Charlotte must find a new home.
The ACC is headquartered in North Carolina and was scheduled to hold 14 of its 21 championship events in the state this academic year. New locations were not immediately announced.
The NCAA made its decision Monday night, arguing that "current North Carolina state laws" don't align with its commitment to "promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans."
ACC officials said they came to the same conclusion over the past two days over the law, known as HB2, which was signed by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory earlier this year. The legislation requires transgender people to use bathrooms at schools and government buildings that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates, and not how they identify themselves.
"The decision to move the neutral site championships out of North Carolina while HB2 remains the law was not an easy one but it is consistent with the shared values of inclusion and non-discrimination at all of our institutions," said James Clements, Clemson University President and chair of the ACC Council of Presidents.
The ACC has 15 universities, mostly along the East Coast, that compete in the NCAA Division I, including Clemson, Duke and North Carolina.
The affected sports that would move tournaments played in North Carolina are: football, women’s soccer, men's and women's swimming and diving, women's basketball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's golf, and baseball.
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Professional leagues have also slammed North Carolina over its bathroom law. The NBA said it would not hold its 2017 All-Star game in Charlotte, opting to move the marquee event to New Orleans in February.
McCrory said in a statement Tuesday that the greater issue of gender and privacy laws will be decided in the courts, and that institutions shouldn't economically threaten states that are challenging the federal government over mandated policies.
The Obama administration in May ordered all public school districts in America to allow transgender students to use bathrooms consistent with their chosen gender identity, which a slew of states are suing over.
"Sadly, the NCAA, a multi-billion dollar, tax-exempt monopoly, failed to show this respect at the expense of our student athletes and hard-working men and women," McCrory said.
Other North Carolina politicians voiced displeasure at the NCAA and ACC for yanking tournaments from the state.
"The truth remains that this law was never about and does not promote discrimination," said North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, according to NBC affiliate WRAL.