Bill would force schools to leave leagues that boycott NC

Published 1:02 am Thursday, April 13, 2017

RALEIGH (AP) — Some lawmakers want to make North Carolina’s public colleges leave their athletic conferences if those leagues boycott the state.

A House bill filed this week and sponsored by four Republicans would require schools in the University of North Carolina system to begin the withdrawal process from their conferences if the organizations enact a future boycott.

Both North Carolina and N.C. State are charter members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. That league pulled 10 neutral-site championships from the state for the 2016-17 academic year in response to a law that limited protections for LGBT people.

After that law was rolled back late last month, the ACC said it would again consider North Carolina sites to host events.

The bill would require schools to place the revenue they receive from their conferences into escrow to pay any exit fees. It also would ban schools from extending their media rights deals with their conferences beyond the terms that exist at the time of the boycott, and says the General Assembly has “the final authority” over the conference membership status of the UNC system schools.

Last summer, the ACC announced an extension of its grant-of-rights provision through the 2035-36 academic year. It gives the ACC control of the schools’ media rights — and more importantly, the money that comes with them — for any school that chooses to leave the conference during that time. It coincides with an extended media deal with ESPN that includes the creation of an ACC-specific TV channel set to launch in 2019.

According to its most recently filed tax documents, for the 2014-15 fiscal year, the ACC distributed an average of $26 million to each of the 14 members that receive a full media share.