North Carolina lawmakers take aim at ACC boycott with new bill

Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The state of North Carolina lost concerts, a conference football championship game, the ACC women’s basketball tournament, an NBA All-Star Game, NCAA tournament games and untold dollars due to HB2, the state’s so-called “bathroom bill.”

It seems many of those are set to return with the bill’s repeal, though that isn’t without controversy, but some state lawmakers are looking to enact a potential boycott of their own.

Members of the North Carolina state House of Representatives introduced a bill this week that would call on the state’s public universities to withdraw from their conferences should those leagues enact any sort of boycott against the state.

That means, were the bill to pass, if the ACC were to formally decree its championships were not to be held in the state of North Carolina, the University of North Carolina and NC State would be, bound by law, required “to immediately provide written notice to the conference that the constituent institution intends to withdraw from the conference no later than when the assignment of its media rights expire, unless the conference immediately ends the boycott.”

Effectively, the Tar Heels and Wolfpack would be forced to announce its departure as soon as the ACC’s TV deal is up.

Obviously, the potential ramifications of such a bill would be great to some large universities. Private schools, such as Duke, would not be subject to such a law.

Given the money, logistics and politics involved, it would seem unlikely that this bill would be able to make it to law, but it underscores how impactful sports have been in the state’s handling of HB2 and all its subsequent issues. It’s also a pretty strong signal that sports – specifically college sports – will be a part of this conversation for as long as it goes on in North Carolina and likely anywhere else in the country.