TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford says the conference is likely to move its football championship game out of Charlotte, North Carolina, again if a state law that limits anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people is not repealed or adjusted.
Swofford gave no timetable Sunday for a decision on whether to relocate the 2017 game but he did say the conference will not wait as long as it did last year to move the game.
The ACC followed the NCAA’s lead and decided in September to pull its championship from Charlotte in response to North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom bill.”
“If something changes in the state of North Carolina that would be welcome,” Swofford said. “Our presidents made what they believe is a principled decision in that regard as to where our championships should be held and shouldn’t. I don’t see that principle changing.”
The law limits protections for LGBT people and was best known for a provision that requires transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificates. It was passed last year after Charlotte officials approved a sweeping anti-discrimination ordinance. A deal to repeal the law fell apart in late December.
“We don’t have an exact deadline but it needs to be sooner than it was last year,” Swofford said. “When that decision was made in September it was tough on fans, it was tough on the league.”
The ACC ended up playing its title game in Orlando. Swofford called bringing it back to Orlando a “viable option.”
“The people in Orlando did a marvelous job of putting together that game and managing it and working with us to make it as good as it could possibly be,” Swofford said. “They were just outstanding. But you really need time to develop, market and promote for longer than a couple of months a game of that magnitude.
“I would not see us waiting until that late in the game to make a determination on where we are next year.”
The next meeting with the ACC presidents is scheduled for March, Swofford said.
“If it’s repealed I think I know what the answer would be with our presidents,” he said. “If it’s an adjustment and a partial repeal … I don’t know.”
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