ACC scraps baseball championship in MB - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

ACC scraps baseball championship in MB

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Confederate flag flying at South Carolina's capitol now means the ACC is pulling it's baseball championship from Myrtle Beach.

Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford announced Monday that Myrtle Beach will no longer be the site of a three-year run of baseball championships beginning in 2011.

The ACC Baseball Championship, Swofford says, has now been awarded to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in 2011 and NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, NC in 2012.

"We're extremely disappointed," said Myrtle Beach Pelicans President Chuck Greenburg. "There was a tremendous collective effort on the part of the Pelicans organization, the Chamber of Commerce and local members of the business community to impress the ACC and have the tournament awarded to us. It would have been a fantastic event."

The conference's decision comes amidst concerns voiced by local and state organizations regarding the confederate flag being flown on statehouse grounds in Columbia.

Since 2000, the ACC says the conference has supported the NAACP's statements regarding the flag issue and followed NCAA policy of not holding pre-determined championships in South Carolina.

Monday's announcement has once again sparked the debate over what should happen with the confederate flag on statehouse grounds.

"I think it's just a historical thing," said Tommy Church, who lives in Myrtle Beach.

"You see that flag flying over it, and it means, 'I hate you,'" said Tim Turner, who also lives in Myrtle Beach, but believes the flag should be moved to a museum.

In 2005, officials say conference presidents agreed they would be willing to consider awarding championships to South Carolina on a case-by-case basis.

The Myrtle Beach Chapter of the NAACP was on board with the idea of having the tournament, but not everyone in the NCAA was so happy about this. The ACC felt the pressure and pulled out.

"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," Swofford noted.  "It has become clear this was not the case."

In May, it was announced Myrtle Beach would be home to the conference tournaments from 2011 to 2013.  Local leaders hoped the event would rake in thousands in tourism dollars in an effort to help replace revenue lost by the spring and fall bike rallies.

©2009 WMBF News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. WIS contributed to this report.

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