If the Clemson football team is able to make the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game for a third straight year in 2017, it likely will get to play the game in Charlotte, N.C.
North Carolina Governor Ray Cooper signed a new bill on Thursday repealing the state’s House Bill 2 law, which more than likely will cause the ACC to overturn its decision from last year to remove its championships from the Tar Heel State, thus returning its football championship game back to the Queen City.
HB2, as it became known as, altered protections for members of the LGBT community, including requiring transgender people in public buildings to use the bathroom of their biological sex.
Last year, because of HB2, the ACC followed the NCAA’s ban of not allowing the state of North Carolina to host any neutral site championships, including the ACC Football Championship Game in Charlotte where it had been a huge success.
The 2016 ACC Football Championship Game was moved from Charlotte to Orlando, Fla., where it generated the smallest crowd, 50,628, to watch an ACC Championship Game since it began in 2005. Clemson beat Virginia Tech, 42-35, to win its second straight conference title on its way to the national championship.
In a statement released to The Clemson Insider on Friday morning, ACC Commissioner John Swofford says the league will reopen discussions to move its future neutral championships back to North Carolina.
“The recently passed legislation allows the opportunity to reopen the discussion with the ACC Council of Presidents regarding neutral site conference championships being held in the state of North Carolina,” he said. “This discussion will take place in the near future, and following any decisions by the ACC Council of Presidents, announcements will be forthcoming.”
The ACC is scheduled to have its annual spring meetings in May, but a decision or announcement about the ACC Football Championship Game could come before those meetings as the conference would like to give the hosting venue plenty of opportunity to prepare for and promote the game.
Clemson, which dominated the attendance in the 2016 Championship Game, was part of a record crowd of 74,514 in the 2015 ACC Championship Game at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, a game in which the Tigers beat North Carolina 45-37. The Clemson fan base nearly tripled that of the North Carolina fan base.
Clemson was also a part of the second largest crowd to watch an ACC Championship Game when the Tigers beat Virginia Tech in front of a crowd of 73,675 at Bank of America Stadium in 2011.
–Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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