The Atlantic Coastal Conference made its departure from the Tar Heel State official Thursday, announcing via press release that the 2016 ACC football championship game will be held in Orlando.
The move comes two weeks after the ACC fell in line with the NBA and NCAA and opted to pull all conference championships from North Carolina, including the title football game. Championships being held on member-college campuses will be still played in the state, as was initially planned. In addition to the NBA All-Star Game, the ACC football title game was expected to bring tens of millions of dollars in revenue to the city of Charlotte—in 2015, the event brought in roughly $32.5 million, per the Charlotte Observer.
The leagues opted to take such action due to the state legislature’s continued support of the anti-LGBT House Bill 2. HB2 restricts citizens’ right to use the bathroom of their gender, mandating instead they use the restroom that matches their sex at birth. It also takes away local governments’ ability to set minimum wage and dialed back the state’s anti-discrimination policy for members of the LGBT community.
The league’s 15 school presidents issued a joint statement with their decision, saying HB2 was “inconsistent” with the conference’s standards on “equality, diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination,” though it would appear Notre Dame president John Jenkins voted with clenched teeth. Neither North Carolina governor Pat McCrory nor the state’s GOP office issued an official statement regarding the ACC’s decision—when the NCAA announced the relocation of its championships, the GOP referred to the move by college athletics’ governing body as “an assault on female athletes across the nation.”
The championship game is slated for Dec. 3. Fans who already purchased tickets for the Charlotte game will have their tickets refunded and be granted an opportunity to re-purchase tickets for the title game in Orlando during a three-day pre-sale period, according to the ACC’s release.