If passed, House Bill 728 would prohibit system schools from granting media rights to said conferences for at least five years after any future boycott has ended.
UNC-system schools would need to immediately inform any athletic conference boycotting the state that they will be withdrawing from the conference. The bill instructs system schools to place funds in escrow in order to pay exit fees or penalties from the conference.
N.C. State University and UNC-Chapel Hill are the only two UNC-system schools that are members of the ACC — but schools in other conferences would be potentially affected by the bill as well.
Sponsored by four Republicans in the N.C. House of Representatives, the bill would give the General Assembly final authority in determining the membership status of UNC-system schools in intercollegiate athletic associations.
Though the ACC has yet to offer an official comment, ACC President John Swofford answered a reporter’s questions Wednesday at the postgraduate scholarship luncheon in Greensboro.
Swofford said he does not think N.C. State and UNC are talking about leaving the conference.
“You know, I would expect N.C. State and the University of North Carolina, as founding members of the ACC, to be in the ACC for many, many years to come,” Swofford said.
The conference will continue to be governed by the ACC Council of Presidents and its values, he said.
“I think you’ll see the ACC at 15 strong for many, many years to come,” Swofford said.
Gov. Roy Cooper could not be reached for comment.
Rep. Mark Brody, R-Union, a primary sponsor of the bill, said it responds to what he sees as the NCAA and ACC engaging in political and lobbying activities.
“I believe the NCAA and the ACC have stepped out of bounds and, to the best of my ability, will never allow the General Assembly to relinquish its legislative authority over the internal affairs of the State or succumb to economic extortion to and from either the NCAA or the ACC,” Brody said in a statement.
Another sponsor of the bill, Rep. Chris Millis, R-Onslow, said in a statement after the partial repeal of House Bill 2 that he will stand on principle, not politics.
“I will never sell out the rights of my constituents to the bullying tactics of the NCAA or any other organization who are intolerant of the rights of the citizens I have the privilege to serve,” he said.
Brody and Millis were also sponsors of a bill March 13 to file a tax-exempt organization complaint — in order to determine whether the NCAA and ACC had “exceeded the scope of their respective charters by using economic retaliation against the State.”
But legislators like Sen. Jeff Jackson, D-Mecklenburg, opposed the bill and the message it sends.
“Yet another go-nowhere bill that makes us look spiteful and silly,” Jackson said in a Tweet. “It responds to any future boycott by the ACC by pulling out of the ACC.”
The bill will now move to the N.C. House rules committee.