ACC Student-Athletes Team Up to Condemn HB2

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The NCAA has declared if North Carolina doesn't repeal HB2, we're going to lose all 133 bids to host NCAA events over the next six years. Six years is a long time to go without any NCAA events, and the ACC will likely follow suit meaning there will be no big sporting events in North Carolina for the foreseeable future. In light of this, student-athletes from UNC, Duke, NC State and Wake Forest wrote an open letter discussing the detriment of HB2 and the need for it to be repealed as quickly as possible.

The letter reads:

It’s the fourth quarter, and the clock is winding down. This is a game we can’t afford to lose.

Since its passage last year, House Bill 2 has rapidly devolved from political controversy into impractical reality. In the past ten months, North Carolina has seen revenue flee the state in the form of billions of dollars in federal funding, employers halting expansion plans, entertainers, artists, and athletic organizations cancelling events, and countless losses of potential jobs, ticket sales, and tax revenues. On Monday, the reality of HB2’s unsustainability grew even clearer with the NCAA’s announcement that unless lawmakers repeal the bill by the end of February, North Carolina will forfeit its eligibility to host championship events in the state through 2022.

The economic impact of this nearly six-year drought is an estimated $250 million—not factoring in the likely eventuality that the ACC would subsequently pull its championships from the state, adhering to the precedent it set earlier this year. The cost of these games goes beyond the deprivation of dollars and cents, beyond the stadiums and seats standing vacant, the officials, vendors, security guards, maintenance and media crews without work—the loss of these games is something more powerful than all of that: it’s a message. It’s a message because that loss is avoidable. To surrender North Carolina’s 133 bids to host championship events over the next six years is a deliberate choice. It’s a choice that prioritizes politics and pride over fans, coaches, students, athletes, families, workers, and communities across North Carolina.

The ACC values equality and inclusion for all, and as students and athletes representing the ACC member institutions of North Carolina, we believe HB2 is counter to those values. All of us have professors, coaches, fans, teammates, friends, and family members who are adversely affected by the language of this bill, but we are calling on lawmakers to recognize that this is no longer a partisan issue of political ideology. This is a matter of survival, of civic responsibility, and seriously considering what it means to serve the interests of North Carolina.

As student-athletes at the University of North Carolina, Duke, North Carolina State, and Wake Forest, we gave everything to earn the privilege of being where we are now. We love our schools and we love this state, and we want what’s best for both; we know the dread and frustration of being down, and we know the elation of making all the right plays, of working as a team, and leading in times of struggle to emerge victorious from the looming shadow of defeat. Please, repeal HB2.

It’s the fourth quarter, and the clock is winding down. This is a game we can’t afford to lose.

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