On Monday, the NCAA announced it was moving seven of its championships from the state of North Carolina because of a controversial N.C. state law that requires transgender people to use restrooms at schools and government buildings that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates, per the Associated Press.
On Wednesday, the Atlantic Coast Conference voted to relocate its championships from North Carolina because of the same law.
"As members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the ACC Council of Presidents reaffirmed our collective commitment to uphold the values of equality, diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination,''the ACC Council of Presidents wrote in a statement. "Every one of our 15 universities is strongly committed to these values and therefore, we will continue to host ACC Championships at campus sites. We believe North Carolina House Bill 2 is inconsistent with these values, and as a result, we will relocate all neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year. All locations will be announced in the conference office.''
Enter the University of Miami.
UM athletic director Blake James said Wednesday that he would be interested in evaluating the idea of Miami or South Florida bidding to host one or more of the ACC title events.
The neutral-site ACC championships that will eventually be relocated:
Women's soccer, football, men's and women's swimming and diving, women's basketball, men's and women's tennis, women's golf, men's golf and baseball.
"We will evaluate what opportunities are out there and see what makes sense for us to try to be part of the conversation going forward,'' James told the Miami Herald. "If there are events we can bring to South Florida I think it would be great for our institution, our students and our fans."
It's unlikely, however, that UM's home football field of Hard Rock Stadium could be chosen as the site of the ACC football championship, usually played at Bank of America Stadium. That wouldn't exactly be neutral should Miami win the Coastal Division and get in the ACC title game Dec. 4.
"There are a variety of stadiums the ACC will look at,'' James said. "As that is our home stadium, I would think most likely it probably wouldn’t be considered on top of the list. But if the conference felt it was good for the conference obviously it would be something we’d be very supportive of."
The ACC baseball tournament, which was May 24-29 this year at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, also brings in lots of folks over an extended period of days. The Marlins announced their 2017 schedule on Wednesday, and the Marlins have a homestand during most of that same time period next year.
"That’s why we need to evaluate everything and see what options are possibly out there for us to suggest to the ACC,'' James said, "and from there it would really be up to them to determine what’s best for the league."
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN