ACC passes on political controversy
The Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship will be held at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, N.C. (2012), and the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (2011, 2013), as announced today by ACC Commissioner John Swofford. This will give the championship a home through 2013, as it was recently released that the 2010 ACC Baseball Championship would be held in Greensboro, N.C.
The 2011-13 championships were originally awarded to Myrtle Beach. The ACC’s decision to hold the tournament in this location was made with the stipulation that discussions be held, and agreements made, with all local and state organizations that had voiced concerns over the confederate flag being flown on the state grounds of the South Carolina State Capitol.
Since 2000, the conference has supported the NAACP’s statements concerning the flag issue and followed the NCAA’s policy 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. It has become clear this was not the case,” stated ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “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.”
With the recent success of the 2009 ACC Baseball Championship in Durham and the announcement of the partnership with Greensboro to host the 2010 ACC Baseball Championship, the league has reached agreements for Durham to host the event in 2011 and 2013 with Greensboro hosting in 2012.
“We appreciate both Durham and Greensboro’s commitment to hosting future ACC Baseball Championships,” said Swofford. “The Durham Bulls Athletic Park and NewBridge Bank Park are both first-class facilities found in the heart of the ACC footprint. We feel fortunate that over the next four years, our teams will be able to complete for an ACC Title in two of the top-rated minor league parks in the country.”
NewBridge Bank Park is located in downtown Greensboro, N.C., and opened its gates to a crowd of 8,540 on April 3, 2005 with an exhibition game between the Class-A Greensboro Grasshoppers and its major-league parent club Florida Marlins. Built at an original construction cost of $21.5 million, the state-of-the-art facility features a 30-foot wide, open-air concourse and 36 concession points of sale, a child-safe play park and the second largest video board in the minor leagues.
Seating capacity currently stands at 7,499, which includes 5,300 chair back seats, 16 luxury suites and two grass banks, as well as picnic areas. Baseball America recently rated NewBridge Bank Park the top stadium in the South Atlantic League and the No. 8 overall minor league stadium nationally.
The Durham Bulls Athletic Park is a 10,000-seat downtown stadium and home to the city’s Triple-A team. The ACC Baseball Championship has been held in Durham on six earlier occasions, with four of them being played at the DBAP. In addition to the 2009 event, 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.
Built at an initial cost of $16 million, Durham Bulls Athletic Park opened in 1995 and was designed by HOK Sport, whose many projects include Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Cleveland’s Jacobs Field, Colorado’s Coors Field and the Carolina Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium.