Some legislators in the North Carolina House don’t like the way the state was bullied by the NCAA and the ACC over House Bill 2. Even though the ACC has said it will restore championship games to the state in light of HB142, the bill that repealed HB2, strong feelings remain about how the state was treated.
Rep. Bert Jones (R-Rockingham) and others have filed House Bill 728 “UNC Institutions/Conference Boycotts.” The bill directs that in the event the ACC boycotts North Carolina again, UNC System Schools such as the University of North Carolina and NC State University would withdraw from the ACC when existing media rights granted to the conference expired.
Rep. Mark Brody, (R-Anson) is one of the sponsors of the bill along with Jones. He said, “I think the ACC reacted [to HB2] because there were no consequences for them in doing so. I think they would have reacted differently if there had been consequences. Hopefully, there won’t be a situation where this comes up again, but if they do think about boycotting us again, there will be something in place for them to deal with and consider.”
Brody also said that an example is Target, and the consequences felt by the corporation because the public did not like the company’s policy of allowing men in women’s private areas. The ensuing boycott has reportedly cost Target millions in sales. Brody said, “They have had consequences to deal with because of their policies.”
If the bill passes and becomes law, and if the ACC were to boycott the state again, the withdrawal by North Carolina conference member schools would not be immediate. There is a buyout that universities must pay to leave the conference. The buyout amount is in the range of $50 million; that, however, could be negotiable. For example, in one buyout, in 2014 Maryland reached an agreement with the ACC of $31.4 million instead of $52.2 million.
Regarding the buyout, the bill says the following: “Any constituent institution of The University of North Carolina that has assigned its media rights to any conference within an intercollegiate athletic association shall segregate all revenue received as a result of that membership and place the funds in escrow until the amount maintained in escrow is at least the amount of any penalty imposed upon the constituent institution for withdrawal from that conference.”
Brody said, “Yes, there is a buyout, but the money [from media rights] will be put into escrow until there is enough there to cover that cost and then the university will be able to withdraw from the conference.”
The bill has been sent to the House Rules Committee and it is not known now if it will be heard at all in a committee. Brody said, “Nobody has ever fought back and it’s time somebody did.”