Swofford updates status of ACC Football Championship Game location
|2017-01-08 10:58:42.0- -||
TAMPA, FL – Will the ACC Football Championship be played n Charlotte next December, will another site host the game or will it remain in Orlando for another season? Not even ACC Commissioner John Swofford knows.
Swofford met with the media Sunday in Tampa, and he said the league isn’t really close to making a determination of the next championship site.
“We’ll just have to see how that plays out. It’s a little premature in terms of our future championships right now. But that’s something we’ll be discussing with our presidents over the next five or six months,” Swofford said. “Don’t know exactly when a decision will be made. If something changes in the state of North Carolina, that would be welcomed. But 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. But I know there have been and continue to be discussions going on in North Carolina that could alter the current deal, and there are court cases that could alter it. So we’ll just have to see how that plays out.”
Last March, North Carolina lawmakers passed the controversial HB2 bill, which includes legislation that requires individuals to use restrooms that correspond to their birth certificates. While the bathroom restriction got the most national attention, the law also prevents cities in North Carolina from enacting anti-discrimination policies to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.
The NCAA announced on Sept. 12 it was pulling its seven neutral-site championships out of North Carolina, citing its commitment to "fairness and inclusion." The ACC and its council of presidents voted to follow the NCAA's lead and move the league's eight neutral-site championships out of the Tar Heel state.
That included the football championship, which was played in Orlando’s Camping World Stadium. Attendance in Charlotte averaged around 70,000 fans, but the move to Orlando set a record – for the lowest attendance in the event’s history. Official attendance was announced as 50,628, the lowest total in the ACC Championship's 12-game history.
Swofford said Orlando is still an option, and that there isn’t a set deadline to make a decision.
“Oh, very much so. Yes, Orlando would very much be a viable option,” he said. “We don’t have an exact deadline, but it needs to be sooner than it was last year. When that decision was made in September, that was tough on fans, that was tough on the league. 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. They were just outstanding. But you really need time to develop, market and promote a game of that magnitude for longer than a couple of months. So I would not see us waiting until that late in the game to make a determination.”
The next time the school presidents meet will be in March, but Swofford said he didn’t know if that subject would be on the agenda.
“Well, their next meeting is in March,” Swofford said. “Whether there will be any discussion beforehand, I really couldn’t say, unless there’s something tangibly changed through the North Carolina legislature between now and March.”
Swofford said it might take more than adjustments to the bill to ensure the game returns to Charlotte.
“Hard to answer, because I don’t know what the adjustments would be.,” he said. “I think certainly a clean repeal, I think I know what the answer would be from talking to our presidents. If it’s a partial repeal, I don’t know. You’d have to know what that was, and our presidents would have to have a conversation about it.”
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