The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday December 1st

CAA Legislation Awaits Matthews' Decision

The bill, passed Tuesday night during the last meeting of the 82nd Congress, must be approved by Matthews before the CAA Constitution is amended.

With Matthews' stamp of approval, the bill most notably will require a more transparent ticket distribution policy.

A good idea, says CAA President Tee Pruitt, but one that should not be forced upon the group by Congress. "We feel they've kind of overstepped some boundaries in relation to our basketball tickets since that's not student property," he said.

Specifically, the bill mandates that the starting numbers for ticket distributions be chosen in public and that bracelet number ranges be published.

The bill also requires CAA officials to keep a public record of every ticket given to CAA Cabinet members, Carolina Fever members or any other student officials or organizations. "We hear (Congress') concerns about accountability and some of them have merit," Pruitt said. "We're going to look into some changes into how to address those concerns internally."

Pruitt said the measures included in the bill are healthy suggestions for Congress to make to the CAA -- but should not be enforced by Congress. "(Congress is) not a check on the athletic director and the athletics department, and there's no way they can serve as a check to athletics department property," he said.

Pruitt also contested the bill's other notable requirement that future Congresses approve the CAA president's Cabinet appointments, claiming the measure allows Congress too much power over personnel issues.

Pruitt also expressed disappointment about a resolution to censure the CAA that Congress also passed Tuesday. "We really are upset with it," he said. "Nothing proves any of these (allegations). No one has any hard evidence that those things are true. They are based on hearsay and rumors."

The censure, which was proposed as the result of alleged misconduct within the organization, will not appear on any students' personal records but could prompt further investigations.

Pruitt said Congress' decision to act on accusations that have yet to be proven is unfair to the CAA. But he recognizes the issue is beyond his reach. "It's out of our hands now," he said. "It's in the hands of student government to make a decision and we'll go from there."

Matthews has yet to see the bill's final version. The addition of more than five amendments Tuesday night has slowed the process as Matthews nears his term's end. "I'm just kind of waiting to take a look and withhold judgement until I can take a look," he said. "I guarantee it will not be an easy decision to make."

Matthews has 10 days to consider the bill -- but only five days left in his term.

He can sign the bill, veto it or, as the calendar now allows, do nothing before his time in office expires April 3.

But Speaker Alexandra Bell said she is confident the bill will resurface even if Matthews chooses to "pocket veto" it. "I have been told that the 83rd Congress will just reintroduce the bill," she said.

If Matthews decides to use his veto power, Tuesday night's 17-1 vote almost guarantees the two-thirds vote needed to override a presidential veto. Bell said a special session of Congress can be called to vote on such a veto if needed.

But Matthews said Congress' response to a veto would have no bearing on his evaluation of the bill. "That won't affect my decision at all," he said. "This is the system of checks and balances and the ball will soon be in our court and that's our opportunity to take our position.

"All options are open at this point."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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