Well, here we are again! The North Carolina General Assembly has decided to throw some potential chaos into the ACC and college sports in general. For those who haven’t heard, Mark Brody (Republican District 55 Anson Co. Union Co) has introduced House Bill 728. The importance of HB 728 is that it states that if The ACC boycotts the State of North Carolina again, the state legislature will revoke the Grant of Media Rights to the ACC and remove UNC and North Carolina State from the ACC.
This bill would not effect Wake Forest or Duke, due to those two schools being private. It should also be noted that this bill also effects all of the state schools and the conferences that those other state schools are in (i.e. Conference USA, Colonial Athletic Conference, Southern Athletic Conference, Sun Belt Conference). I don’t think this will pass, I really don’t, but then again I didn’t think HB2 would pass either.
When you look at this bill on it’s face, you wonder what in the world is North Carolina doing? Getting into, what seems to be a government version of taking their ball and going home. However, when you start looking at it, from a legal stand point it is an interesting case study.
One of the questions that first shows itself is, do state government have the power to revoke “Grant of Rights,” of the state run institutions and the conferences that have those rights. The ACC grant of rights goes until 2026-27. The question is, does the State of North Carolina, have the right to revoke the granting of rights to a conference. If the ACC would boycott the state again, would North Carolina have the ability to pull it’s University’s out of the ACC. The answer to that question will take lawsuits and a trip to the Supreme Court. I believe in the end with the ACC losing and the State of North Carolina winning.
A second question is, does the ACC and the NCAA as presently constituted as 501 (c) (3) organization can lobby. I know, I know, this is all boring stuff to most people, but think about it. If these organizations are going to go through the charade of being a “non-profit” organization then we need to shine the light on these organizations. The reason that this is important is due to 501 (3) (c) organizations is that they are not allowed to engage in “lobbying.” The question is, does exerting pressure on state’s to change laws by pulling championships out of said state is lobbying. The definition of lobbying according to the Cambridge dictionary is “the activity of trying to persuade someone in authority, usually an elected member of government, to support laws or rules that give your organization or industry and advantage.”
It seems as though The NCAA and ACC either crossed that line, or ran right up to that line Now, the law does state that 501 3 c organization can engage is SOME lobbying, but that notion is vague. The NCAA and The ACC used it’s financial power to change a law that was discriminatory. It looks as though they engaged in lobbying, but how much?
The politics in North Carolina is cutthroat. There have been firings of political appointees during Christmas, laws curtailing the Governors powers, State Senate approval for political appointees, and who controls the Board of Elections. Neither political party is innocent in crushing their political enemies. This is the backdrop and reason for this bill.
The State of North Carolina General Assembly doesn’t like to be humiliated. And with the microscope that has been put on them and the state for the last year before HB 2 was repealed. They want their pound of flesh, they want to inflict the amount of pain that they feel has been inflicted on them (whether it’s their own fault or not) onto someone else. If they feel that they are humiliated again, they are going to make life difficult for those organizations they feel as the ones who are the cause….