If North Carolina Doesn’t Repeal HB2, the #ACC Could Change in More Ways Than One




Good afternoon, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) sports fans.

By now, you’ve heard of HB2 – we don’t know to go into the details of that North Carolina law.

What you need to know now is that HB2 – if not repealed in the next 12 days – will impact the State of North Carolina’s future opportunity to host NCAA Championship events.  Actually, that’s being generous – if HB2 isn’t repealed, North Carolina’s opportunity to host NCAA championship events is D-E-A-D (h/t @LukeDeCock) – and the ACC would be next:

Time’s up.

By the end of next week, it will be too late.

If House Bill 2 isn’t repealed in the next 12 days, while the North Carolina General Assembly is in session, the NCAA is going to extend its ban on events in North Carolina for another five years. The ACC will follow. And so will countless amateur and youth sporting organizations.

The letter the N.C. Sports Association sent legislators on Monday spells it out in brutal detail. The NCAA’s individual sports committees will, over the next 7-10 days, convene to begin their final deliberations about event sites for the 2018-19 through 2021-22 academic years. Those decisions will come at the end of the month. They have been instructed to exclude all 133 of North Carolina’s bids from consideration if HB2 is still on the books.

Once the state is out of the running for those four years, the NCAA will act quickly to pull next year’s events from the state, including the NCAA basketball first and second rounds set for Charlotte.

Having already moved the basketball first and second rounds from Greensboro this March to Greenville, S.C., along with a dozen other events this fall, winter and spring, the NCAA is prepared to turn its back on North Carolina altogether. And others will follow, just as the NCAA followed the NBA’s decision to move its 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans.

The ACC already pulled its neutral-site championships from North Carolina for this year. By the time the conference has its spring meetings in May, there will be plans in place to move the 2019 and 2020 ACC basketball tournaments from Charlotte and Greensboro, respectively. If nothing happens now, those decisions will be a foregone conclusion by then.

@AllSportsDACC blogger, James Cunningham (@JamesIV1978 ) mentioned to us today that HB2 is nowhere near repeal:


So, let’s prepare for the future here.  If the ACC major neutral-site championships out of North Carolina, it’s likely also going to move the conference headquarters (and several jobs associated with the conference).  This is a big endeavor – it is not a small effort.  And you’ve got to thing that long-standing commissioner, John Swofford (who is almost 70 years old), would retire (he has the longest tenure of any ACC Commissioner) when the conference offices move (because they won’t stay in North Carolina as long as HB2 is in effect there).


The ACC would then likely put out a request for proposal for a conference headquarters located in one of the states represented by the conference (or a neighboring city – yes, I’m dropping a massive hint) and take an offer that best fits the financial interests of the member schools.


The Washington, DC metro area has to be one of the top locations for the ACC to move it’s headquarters.  It is in a central location to most ACC schools, the ACC could likely get a competitive deal on its facilities lease(given that the ACC could choose from Northern Virginia, Washington, DC, or Montgomery County, MD), and it is close enough for ACC employees located in North Carolina to make the move up north (and heck, in this business, you can easily telework).
Who should be the next commissioner?  Michael Kelly – we wrote about the future ACC commissioner in three posts.  Michael Kelly went to St. Johns College High School in Washington, DC and Wake Forest University.  He is well-versed in the culture of the ACC – and if ACC headquarters move to the Washington, DC area, this would be a homecoming for Kelly.  We wrote about Kelly here:
Based on his broad level of experience, Michael Kelly is well-prepared to the the next ACC Commissioner.  Kelly is an alumnus of Wake Forest University and, earlier in his career, served as the institution’s Director of Athletic Operations and Facilities.  Kelly previously served as Senior Associate Commissioner for the ACC, overseeing broadcasting, communications and football. Kelly has experience with huge sporting events.  He served as the lead local executive for three different Super Bowls in three different communities, having been President of the Super Bowl Host Committee in Tampa Bay (Super Bowl XXXV), Jacksonville (Super Bowl XXXIX) and South Florida (Super Bowl XLI). He also served as the Executive Director for the 1999 NCAA Men’s Final Four Local Organizing Committee.  Finally, Kelly is now the Chief Operating Officer of the College Football Playoff, which probably the third largest sporting event in our country behind the Super Bowl and March Madness.  Kelly, therefore, is not only familiar with the culture of the ACC, but he’s also worked at the highest levels of college sports.

So there you go – agree or disagree with the proposed location of the ACC Headquarters – and the new commissioner?  Tweet us at @AllSportsDACC.

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