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News & Record (Greensboro, North Carolina)
The Greensboro Coliseum has been scheduled to host the 2020 ACC men 's basketball tournament.
GREENSBORO - The one-sentence email arrived with no fanfare Friday afternoon.
But it's a big deal.
"The ACC Council of Presidents has voted that North Carolina will again be considered for hosting future ACC Championships," read the email from an ACC spokesperson.
That means the Greensboro Coliseum in 2020, as scheduled, will be the host of the ACC men's basketball tournament. And the women's tournament, moved to Conway, S.C., by the league after being hosted in the Coliseum for the 17 previous seasons, will also return, in March 2018.
"We are delighted to be informed the ACC will be returning ACC Championships to North Carolina," a statement from the Greensboro Coliseum read. "This decision will allow us to get back to doing what we do best - hosting championship sporting events in 'Tournament Town.' "
The ACC decision came less than 24 hours after Gov. Roy Cooper signed House Bill 142, a compromise law that passed through the state legislature Thursday repealing House Bill 2 - the so-called bathroom bill - and replacing it with a slightly less severe law.
"This compromise was a first step to repairing our state's reputation and economy, and it's encouraging to see the ACC put North Carolina back on its list," Cooper said Friday in a statement. "This is the first major step in a continued fight for statewide antidiscrimination protections."
NCAA President Mark Emmert said Thursday that his organization's board of governors would review whether to return events to North Carolina and keep the state in its site selection process for its 2018-22 cycle.
"We hope the NCAA will follow the ACC's action today," the coliseum's statement Friday continued, "and return its championship events to Greensboro in the near future."
The coliseum is scheduled to be the site of the ACC women's basketball tournament and the league's swimming and diving championships annually through 2022. The women's golf tournament will return to Greensboro's Sedgefield Country Club in 2018-20.
The ACC decision resets championship agreements the league had made in North Carolina. The football game will be back in Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte through 2019; the baseball tournament will return to Durham Bulls Athletic Park in 2018; and the men's golf tournament will be held at Old North State Club in New London in 2018-20.
The ACC and NCAA considered HB 2 discriminatory against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people because it limited their rights, and both of the sports governing bodies had removed all neutral-site championship events from North Carolina while HB 2 remained law.
In all, 17 ACC and NCAA championship events were moved to other states. And the NCAA said it would not consider North Carolina for its next four-year cycle of host-site bids, which runs through the 2021-22 school year, as long as HB 2 remained law.
The NCAA will announce results of those bids April 18. Greensboro alone bid to host 53 events worth an estimated $118 million to the local economy, according to the Greensboro Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Kim Strable, president of the Greensboro Sports Commission, hopes the NCAA will follow the ACC's lead.
"We believe the threshold was met for NC bids to remain in the pipeline and remain optimistic that the NCAA Board of Governors will concur."
Contact Jeff Mills at (336) 373-7024, and follow @JeffMillsNR on Twitter.
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