July 13, 2009


ACC Changes Sites for Baseball Championships


The Atlantic Coast Conference office recently announced that the baseball championship will be played at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in 2011 and 2013, and at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, N.C., in 2012.


The three championships were originally scheduled to be played at Myrtle Beach with the stipulation that discussions be held, and agreements made, with all local and state organizations that voiced concerns over the confederate flag being flown on the state grounds of the South Carolina State Capitol.


Since 2000, the ACC has supported the statements of the NAACP concerning the flag issue and followed the policy of the NCAA of not holding pre-determined championships in the state of South Carolina. In 2005, the conference presidents agreed that the ACC would be willing to consider awarding league championships to venues in the state of South Carolina on a case-by-case basis, provided that the host-site proposal included a plan to work with the NAACP at the local and state levels to ensure a proper environment.

"Our baseball committee and institutional administrators awarded the championships to Myrtle Beach with the understanding that the event had the blessings of all parties within the state of South Carolina,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a release by the conference office. “It has become clear this was not the case. It's unfortunate that this miscommunication occurred and since the original announcement, we have had productive conversations with members of the NAACP.  In the end, given the conference's commitment to diversity, equality and human rights, our institutions have determined that this change should be made."


Durham Bulls Athletic Park is a 10,000-seat downtown stadium and hosted the ACC Baseball Championship this past season. It is home to the city's Triple A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. The ACC Baseball Championship has been held in Durham six times, with four being played at DBAP. In addition to 2009, the championship was also played there in 1996, 1998 and 1999. Durham Athletic Park, the previous home to the city's minor league team and the primary setting for the movie "Bull Durham," welcomed the ACC in 1984 and 1986.


NewBridge Bank Park is located in downtown Greensboro, N.C., and will also host the 2010 championship. It is the home of the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the Class A affiliate of the Florida Marlins. Seating capacity is 7,499, which includes 5,300 chair back seats, 16 luxury suites and two grass banks, as well as picnic areas.


(photo by Jimmy Jones)