College Sports

ACC follows new NCAA policy in light of HB2

ACC Commissioner John Swofford.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford. AP

North Carolina’s House Bill 2 is on the agenda at the ACC’s annual spring meetings though it remains unclear what effect, if any, the controversial law might have on various events the league holds in the state.

“Our executive committee had a call last Friday to discuss the issue, we’ll discuss it further here,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said on Monday, during the first of several days of meetings that conclude on Thursday. “Where we are as a league right now, going into these meetings, is in essence where the NCAA is.”

Swofford spoke about HB2, a law which prevents transgender people from using bathrooms corresponding to the gender with which they identify, during a taped in-house interview that the ACC broadcast on Facebook. Swofford wasn’t available on Monday to discuss the issue further, a league spokesman said, but he’s expected to address reporters later this week.

In light of HB2, the NCAA recently required hosts of championships and events to meet an anti-discrimination standard. The NCAA has mandated that host cities “demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event.”

The new provision has raised questions about North Carolina’s ability to host various NCAA championships. Raleigh hosted the first and second rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in March, and the tournament is scheduled to return to the state the next two seasons.

Greensboro is an NCAA tournament host next season, and Charlotte the season after that. The Division II baseball championships are scheduled to be held at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary in 2017 and 2018.

If HB2 remains in place, it could jeopardize North Carolina’s ability to host those events. The state is also home to a number of ACC events and championships, including the league’s championship football game, which is played annually in Charlotte.

Swofford said the ACC has adopted the same policy that the NCAA has enacted.

“We will require from any site that we are scheduled to already go to, or any site that we are considering going to in the future, a statement and a full commitment to fairness, to inclusiveness, to non-discriminatory practices at that venue and in that city,” Swofford said.

“And if that is met that will suffice.”

Swofford said the ACC, which is based in Greensboro, “has been all about inclusiveness and not having discriminatory policies” from day one, and that it continues to be.

“And our people seem to be by and large comfortable with where the NCAA is addressing that going forward,” he said. “And our policy at this point is very similar.”