Of all the boycotts over North Carolina’s HB2 legislation—which eliminated anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people and legislated who could use which bathroom—the ACC’s was among the most powerful.
The conference (along with the NCAA) decreed that until the state repealed the law, it would not hold any events in North Carolina. Eventually, the state replaced HB2 with another bill, which felt more palatable despite having similar outcomes, and the ACC relented on its boycott.
Now, North Carolina representatives Bert Jones, Chris Millis, Mark Brody and Jeff Collins (all Republicans) have proposed a bill that would make sure the conference never boycotts again.
The legislation states that if “a conference within an intercollegiate athletic association” enacts a boycott on the state, any public school in that conference will send notice that it “intends to withdraw from the conference no later than when the assignment of its media rights expire.”
— Alex Rose (@AlexRoseNews) April 12, 2017
Every other conference commissioner likely saw this report and started salivating. If North Carolina and North Carolina State actually left the ACC, you can bet others, led by the Big Ten would come calling before the ink was dry.
Of course, it’s quite unlikely it would ever come to that. For one thing, this bill has been filed but would still need to pass the state House and Senate. Then the ACC would have to again find something to boycott, and legislators would have to follow through on their threat, disrupting a strong relationship between schools and conference.
In the end, this bill seems like bitter legislators showing how tough they are. We’ll see if it goes anywhere.