Four North Carolina lawmakers proposed a new bill this week that would pull two state universities from participating in the conference if the Atlantic Coast Conference boycotts the state again.
Last year, the league refused to hold the championship games in the state due to the controversial “bathroom bill.”
Although the bill was replaced last month, lawmakers want to protect the state from being punished by an intercollegiate athletic association in response to its politics.
“The new bill, HB 728, states that if an intercollegiate athletic association boycotts North Carolina, then the University of North Carolina campuses that are a part of that conference would be prohibited from extending the grant of media rights to that conference. As a private school, Duke would not be affected by the new bill,” writes Sport Illustrated.
Both the ACC and NCAA refused to host championship events in North Carolina until the HB2 was repealed, but now that it has been, the ACC announced that its Council of Presidents voted “yes” to having the state host future championship games.
“Carolina is proud to be a member of the ACC and our affiliation has benefited both the University and the state,” said Joanne Peters, University of North Carolina spokesperson to USA TODAY Sports. “We are pleased that earlier this month the ACC restored North Carolina’s ability to host tournaments and championships. We will monitor the legislation should it move forward to determine its potential impacts.”
“House Bill 728 does not mention the bathroom bill boycott specifically. It calls on the two public schools in the league to “immediately” notify the conference it “intends to withdraw” if another boycott is launched and the school would be barred from re-joining the ACC for five years after the boycott ends. The bill does not impact Duke and Wake Forest, both private schools from the state in the ACC,” writes USA Today.
Evidently, several Republicans including the bill sponsors Bert Jones, Mark Brody, Chris Millis, Justin P. Burr and George G. Cleveland see what the league did last year as an injustice that needs to still be addressed.
“We’re taking this seriously and we’re not going to sit back idly and let them do whatever they want to North Carolina,” said Rep. Mark Brody, a Republican from Union County to the CBS’ North Carolina affiliate, WNCN.
“This is a payback bill from people who supported House Bill 2,” said Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Orange) to WNCN.
Author’s note: Even though the impact on North Carolina’s economy from the ACC and NCAA’s boycott was miniscule, it wasn’t right for everyone, especially the students in North Carolina to be punished because of how the state passed laws it deemed fit to pass. These NC lawmakers are sending a message and if this bill passes, there will be even more consequences if the ACC tries this again. Sports organizations have no right to be involved in politics. If athletes want to protest, let them do it on their own time. But, they should not presume their whole organization agrees with them.